The dramatised story of how writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft overcame BBC management scepticism, focus groups and problems with the cast to get the much loved wartime sitcom Dad’s Army on air will be told in a new one-off BBC2 comedy.
Taking viewers from Perry’s initial idea in 1967 until the transmission of the first episode in 1968, the film will tell the story of Perry and Croft’s writing partnership as well as the casting woes, personal clashes and production difficulties that put the show’s very existence in jeopardy.
The BBC has promised that the programme will reveal to fans and newcomers alike what went on behind the scenes during the making of Dad’s Army and is a “true love letter to British creativity”.
Cast confirmed so far include EastEnders star Shane Richie who will play Bill Pertwee – aka Chief Air Raid Warden Hodges – and Game of Thrones and Fortitude actor Richard Dormer, who will take on the part of writer David Croft.
Paul Ritter, seen recently in Friday Night Dinner and No Offence, has been cast as Croft’s co-writer Jimmy Perry.
In terms of the Dad’s Army cast, Julian Sands is to take on the role of actor John Le Mesurier while Kevin Bishop will play James Beck. Michael Cochrane (Oliver Sterling in The Archers) will play Arnold Ridley and Ralph Riach (Braveheart, Hamish Macbeth) has been cast as John Laurie.
Smack The Pony and Bridget Jones’s Diary star Sally Phillips will play David Croft’s actor and talent manager wife Ann. Further cast details will be announced at a later date.
The film was written by Stephen Russell (Hattie, Shameless, Coronation Street, Garrow’s Law) and will be directed by Steve Bendelack (Spitting Image, the Royle Family, The League of Gentlemen).
“Who can resist the behind-the-scenes story of the making of British legend Dad’s Army, brought to us by a highly talented on and off screen team,” said BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw at the Edinburgh Television Festival.