On seeing Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes starring former EastEnder Leslie Grantham and Emmerdale’s Peter Martin, I could almost hear a distant John Le Mesurier as Sgt Wilson asking, “Do you think that’s wise?”
Being a lifelong fan of the Dad’s Army TV series, Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s adventures of Walmington-On-Sea’s Home Guard still tickle my funny bone decades on from their original broadcast, but certain rewrites in places could have made this stage presentation flow a lot smoother than it did, particularly between episodes.
Leslie Grantham does shine though, as lovable spiv, Private Walker, injecting the charm and charisma of his own personality into the role originally made famous by James Beck, while Kern Falconer displays the doom and gloom necessary for cantankerous Scotsman Private Frazer, an interpretation that even John Laurie himself would have been proud of.
Peter Martin’s portrayal of Captain Mainwaring doesn’t quite deliver unfortunately, maybe not so much a fault of Martin’s but more for the fact that Mainwaring is forever entwined within the personality of Arthur Lowe, a role the actor very much made his own through 80 TV episodes.
However, criticism aside, this is a rare chance to see an interpretation of two of the three missing shows from the series, A Stripe for Frazer and The Loneliness of The Long Distance Walker, done in the spirit of Dad’s Army even if they lack something of the sparkle of the original.
A version of this review by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus during October 2007