The world premiere of the new Dad’s Army Film at the Odeon Leicester Square in London this week was a red carpet affair that the original Captain Mainwaring would no doubt have whole-heartedly approved of. Despite the traditionally inclement English conditions in January, even as the cast huddled under umbrellas to keep out the damp weather they seemed genuinely enthused by their efforts on the eagerly-anticipated re-make.

Zeta-Jones back in the UK

Catherine Zeta-Jones may have swapped Britain for the sunnier climes of Los Angeles these days, but the 46-year-old seemed genuinely glad to be back in the UK for the new film.

Besides fellow cast members Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Tom Courtenay and Toby Jones (Mainwaring) for the obligatory photoshoot, she simply oozed charm and charisma.

The sultry Welsh lass of Darling Buds of May and the Zorro films fame, purred that filming back in Blighty was akin to “coming back to a cup of Ovaltine.” Surrounded by the classy British cast who all “knew their lines, knew what they were doing” she was greatly impressed by the re-make of a BBC comedy classic for the silver screen. She plays the part of a reporter in the film.

Gambon’s troubles

Gambon did however admit to some problems in remembering his lines during filming. The well-respected 75-year-old pointed out that in order to play the dithering ‘Godfrey’ he never had “more than two lines (of dialogue) at a time.” That enabled him to refer to a piece of paper in his pocket and “keep reciting it in your head, so you don’t have to read.”

Mainly new cast

Besides the requisite replacement of most of the original TV cast (who have sadly passed away in the interim) in the film, there were parts for the last two remaining members.

Frank Williams may now be in his 80s, but was able to reprise his virtuoso role as the Rev Timothy Farthing. Williams admitted that his involvement in the new scenes made him feel that “it was very much like coming home again.

Ian Lavender was perhaps slightly too old to resume his ‘stupid boy’ part as Private Pike, but took on a cameo role instead in the film to retain some of the nostalgic feel to the production.

Domestic dispute

The film had ignited a minor domestic dispute last year between Thetford and Bridlington. Both towns believed that they could justifiably claim to be the ‘real’ Walmington-on-Sea, the fictional location for Dad’s Army. Perhaps both places can now share in the limelight afforded by the likely surge in interest in the brand in the aftermath of the film’s release.

The film goes on general release in the UK on February 5th.