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Dad's Army back in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 12:04 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:13 05 July 2010

It's one of television's best loved comedies and yesterday the Dad's Army platoon arrived in Lowestoft for a theatrical homecoming to the region in which many episodes were filmed.

It's one of television's best loved comedies and yesterday the Dad's Army platoon arrived in Lowestoft for a theatrical homecoming to the region in which many episodes were filmed.

The classic sitcom first aired in 1968, but 40 years on there is still much affection for the blundering Home Guard of fictional town Walmington-On-Sea.

A new stage production, based on original scripts, yesterday marched its way to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft - the only venue in Norfolk and Suffolk to host the play.

The play takes the shape of four episodes, two of which were famously taped over by the BBC called A Stripe for Frazer and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker.

And last night's Lowestoft opening of Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes had a very special guest in the form of Suffolk resident David Croft, who co-wrote the original 80 television shows with Jimmy Perry.

The comedy writer is responsible for many television classics, such as Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo, but it's the comedy capers of Britain's Home Guard, filmed in the Thetford area, that generates one of the biggest public responses.

He said: “It appeals enormously to all age groups. It is schoolboy humour and 'Don't tell him, Pike' will go into the archives as one of the most famous lines in sitcom history.

“It reflects a time when we all behaved well and it's historically very important.”

Mr Croft said the cast had done an impressive job of taking on such iconic roles.

“They are excellent, they don't do impersonations but the characters emerge just the same and there are terrific performances. Leslie Grantham is marvellous and if he had been available at the time, he could have played a part in the original show.”

Former soap actor Grantham, known to many as Dirty Den in EastEnders, plays Private Joe Walker, the dodgy dealer with an eye for the ladies.

He said: “I think what Jimmy Perry and David Croft have done is brilliant. This is a fantastic opportunity and it's great that we found a young producer willing to take the cast on the road. Lowestoft is the first seaside town where the sun is shining.

“At first we thought of course we can do it; then we got to rehearsals and thought have we bitten off more than we can chew? But the audience love it and it's going well. I've had a marvellous time. The reaction has been phenomenal and we hope that Lowestoft will enjoy it too.”

Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes runs until Saturday. Tickets are available from the Marina Theatre box office on 01502 533200.

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