Dad's Army the movie - Sitcom writer's agent confirms film adaptation talks and suggests Captain Mainwaring may be cast as a woman

 

Don’t Panic! Talks are underway to bring Dad’s Army to the big screen, with a new cast and a novel twist - Captain Mainwaring could be played by a woman.

Nearly four decades since the last episode of the classic sitcom aired on the BBC, co-writer Jimmy Perry has revealed to members of the show’s official fan club that a new film version is in the early stages of development.

However, with nearly all of the original actors having passed away - most recently Clive Dunn, who died last week at the age of 92 - any new film would require an entirely new cast.

Even more controversially, the studio behind the project have hinted to Perry that they want the lead role of Captain Mainwaring, played by Arthur Lowe in the series, to go to a woman.

Perry made the shock announcement at a meeting of the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society (DAAS) last month – where the news was met with “groans from his audience”, according to the DAAS website.

Jimmy Perry, 89, penned Dad’s Army with long-standing writing partner David Croft, who died last year at the age of 89. Perry has said he will not be writing the script for the new film, but his agent, Lynda Ronan, confirmed that he was “in the midst of discussions” about the project, but could give no further details. No film studio has yet been attached to the project, although Ms Ronan said there had been “interest”.

It would not be the first cinema outing for Dad’s Army. In 1971 Columbia Studios produced a feature film starring the original television cast. Sony Pictures Entertainment, who now own Columbia, did not respond to a request for comment on the new project. 

The original film, a re-tread of plots from early episodes, told the story of the foundation of the Walmington-on-Sea branch of the Home Guard. The studio made several changes to the series, such as recasting the role of Mrs Pike, and the film tends not to be remembered fondly by fans of the television series.

In the Norfolk town of Thetford, where the series was filmed, a statue of Lowe as Captain George Mainwaring takes pride of place by the river Little Ouse. David Brooks, 53, who leads tours and talks at the town’s Dad’s Army Museum said that fans would be intrigued by a new film – but was not so sure about a female Mainwaring.

“As long as they were loyal to the genre of the comedy series fans would be fine about it,” he said.  “It’s a classic form of British comedy so they’d have to continue in that vein. Jimmy Perry is probably aware that there is a new generation of Dad’s Army fans. We get a lot of teenagers coming into the museum. But I’m not sure whether a woman Mainwaring would go down very well.”

Corinne Fulford, the manager of the Dad’s Army Museum, was more direct. “We’re talking about an iconic series that was written by two geniuses. I can’t even imagine how he could played by a woman,” she said.

Historically speaking, the idea is not quite as wild as it might seem. Women were permitted into the Home Guard after 1943 and before that Women’s Home Defence groups were established in which the wives, mothers and sisters of serving soldiers learned unarmed combat and how to fire tommy guns in preparation for a German invasion. However, Midge Gillies, author of Waiting for Hitler, a history of British preparations for invasion in 1940, said that it was very unlikely that a woman would have served as a captain in the Home Guard.

“A female Captain Mainwaring sounds pretty unlikely to me,” she said. “It sounds like the film-makers are trying to update the series. The humour of it was originally about class and this would confuse things.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent