After years of speculation as to how Toby Jones and Bill Nighy could possibly step into the shoes of the much-loved Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson, we are set to find out as the new Dad’s Army film arrives in cinemas at last.
The new film was largely filmed in and around Bridlington, with the High Street being used as Walmington on Sea. Bridlington is the third town to act as Walmington: prior to this, the quaint village of Chalfont St Giles was used for the 1971 movie, and Thetford in Norfolk was used for the entirety of the TV series.
In two summers’ time it will be a full half century since Dad’s Army first graced our screens and, even after all this time, the locations used in the TV series are still visited by many fans each year.
Whilst the popular and well known locations are often cited, such as the famous Nether Row and the Thetford Guildhall (shown above), there are many others that remain almost unchanged since appearing on screen all that time ago. We’ve picked out some of our favourite lesser-seen locations from across the Norfolk area.
Join us as we rewind the clock and then catchup with the locations as they stand in the present day, and test your knowledge with a quiz on the episodes.
Brain Versus Brawn
In ‘Brain Versus Brawn’ the platoon, determined to prove their prowess and cunning, sign up to a training exercise. Their mission: to covertly plant a bomb in an army camp.
Coming up with a plan to light a fire at the camp then enter disguised as firefighters, the platoon can count on the typically well-connected Walker to lend the platoon an old fire engine. However things don’t go as planned when a real fire breaks out elsewhere and the fire engine is redirected.
It’s at this point that our location shows, with the view showing where Warden Hodges flags down the fire engine. Of course, unbeknown to him it’s actually Mainwaring and the platoon.
Wash Lane, Wacton
Round And Round Went The Great Big Wheel
A new secret weapon is being tested on the outskirts of Walmington, and the platoon has been selected to take care of ‘Special Duties’. Mainwaring is unaware what they will actually entail until they arrive to discover these elite tasks are actually odd jobs (taking care of the cookhouse, latrines etc.).
Just as things look to be going well, the weapon is affected by radio interference and goes on the run. After discovering the interference is coming from the platoon’s van they look to stop it reaching Walmington
All that’s needed is to cut off the weapon’s antenna and it will be harmless, the trouble being that it’s on the top of the device. Jones decides to hang upside-down from a railway bridge to cut it off as it passes underneath.
The bridge in question has changed very little and is still easily recognisable, including the patch of ground where the device meets its end.
Old Bury Road, Thetford
The Face on the Poster
The platoon are recruiting and, inspired by the iconic ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster, Jones decides to recreate the style for the Home Guard.
After overcoming the struggle of remaining still for the exposure in the absence of a flash, everything is ready for the poster. However following a mixup by the printers, Jones’ face ends up on an escaped prisoner of war poster instead. He is promptly recognised and captured by a Polish officer in the street, who sends him to the nearest prisoner of war camp.
Mainwaring hears what has happened and attempts to get Jones released, but as it happens, he isn’t carrying the relevant papers and ends up behind the wire fence alongside Jones.
We’ve picked the road where the Polish officer apprehends Jones as one of our rewound locations. The houses along the side of the road look exactly the same to this day, as is the door Jones and Pike stand outside.
Mill Lane, Thetford
The Deadly Attachment
The most famous episode of Dad’s Army features very little location footage, but when they do venture outside the studio it’s for a memorable sequence. The platoon have finally come face to face with the Germans when they are told they must keep guard over them until they are picked up. Already irritated at having to order cod and chips for the prisoners (and 1 plaice), things get worse for Mainwaring and Pike as they end up on the u-boat captain’s “list”.
After the Germans get hold of a gun, they order the platoon to march to their boat as hostages or they will kill one of their number. In the hope of being spotted, the Home Guard agree to feign that they are escorting the prisoners on a walk towards the sea.
The road they walk along is our selected location, and it is not the usual preferred Dad’s Army location of Nether Row but another which looks very similar, and like Nether Row, has also changed very little since the 70s.
Rushford Road, Thetford
The King Was In His Counting House
The threat of air raids strikes close to home when a bomb hits the bank. Taking matters into his own hands, Mainwaring decides to guard the money until it can be safely deposited in a bank in the neighbouring town.
After several unsuccessful attempts at counting the money, the platoon they must then decide how to transport such a large sum of money to the other bank’s vault.
When Walker returns with a horse and cart to transport the fortune, Mainwaring takes it on himself to man the horse and deliver it personally, with the platoon providing a bicycle escort.
All is well until the container starts leaking notes all over the road, and it’s here that we find our next Dad’s Army location. This quiet road is still very much recognisable from the 70s, even if the trail of bank notes is long gone.