Published: 5 February, 2016
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by Oliver Parker
SO, who do you think you are kidding?
In this film version of the hit series Dad’s Army, we are made to wait until the final credits before getting the chance to tap our feet to what is still the catchiest theme tune ever written for British TV – but this comedy feels like a tribute act to the seminal show rather than something that can stand on its own.
Producer Damian Jones said he was spurred to make the film after channel surfing on a Saturday night. Fed up with X Factor, he spotted Dad’s Army was being re-run – and after recovering from his attacks of the giggles he discovered it was screened every week, and got viewing figures above three million. Not bad for prime-time Saturday telly – so off he went and got the backing for a feature-length version of the series based on the misadventures of the Home Guard in Walmington-On-Sea.
The plot revolves around a German agent casing out the south coast to discover the secrets behind D-Day.
Meanwhile, a beautiful writer for The Lady magazine (Catherine Zeta-Jones) appears, flirting with the volunteers till their heads spin and asking questions about the Home Guard, apparently for a “feature” she is writing...
The jokes are a mixture of tepid music hall slapstick and Carry On double entendres.
It is as exciting fare as the ration book menus served up during the war – yet it has endearing, saving graces.
A knockout cast means even when handed the cheesiest of lines they are delivered with a dash of glee for the simple fact that you suspect Bill Nighy (Sergeant Wilson), Toby Jones (Captain Mainwaring), Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson among others are simply chuffed to be in a remake of such a national institution, and no doubt recall Mainwaring, Pike, Jones and the platoon with nostalgic warmth.