Stars from the cult television sitcom Dad's Army were back in Norfolk on Friday 1 October as part of the first Great Yarmouth Film Festival. The Dad's Army Gala Night was held at the Hollywood Cinema in the town.
Bill Pertwee, who played chief air raid warden Burt Hodges, Frank Williams whose character was Rev. Timothy Farthing, Pamela Cundell, who played Mrs Fox, and Harold Snoad, the production assistant all attended the Dad's Army Gala Night at the Hollywood Cinema.
The night started with some music and news from the war era which got the packed cinema crowd in the mood - the war songs had the whole cinema singing along.
During the interval I had several books signed and brief chats with the stars. Several people were buying refreshments and merchandise from the Dad’s Army Appreciation Societies stand situated in the entrance area.
After the interval we returned to the cinema, eagerly awaiting the Dad's Army part of the night. The host introduced the first Dad's Army episode called Menace From The Deep which was filmed in part on Great Yarmouth pier. This episode had the audience laughing at the antics of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.
After this we were introduced to the four Dad's Army stars, as one by one they came and took their seats on stage for the question-and-answer session. Frank Williams relayed a story about John Le Mesurier (Sgt Arthur Wilson) and Pamela Cundell told a funny story about Arthur Lowe (Capt Mainwaring) and the writer and producer David Croft.
The stars were asked if the cast still receive royalties from the show. Bill Pertwee answered, "Yes, we do get royalties but only when it's shown on the BBC!"
The night ended with another Dad's Army episode called Sons Of The Sea - again some of this episode was filmed in Great Yarmouth.
The stars seemed to enjoy being back in the town and were still signing autographs at the end of the night. It was a fantastic, nostalgic night that was greatly enjoyed by everyone there.
The next day Bill Pertwee, Pamela Cundell and Frank Williams opened a new tea room in Thetford. The owner is already considering changing the name of the Devine Tea Rooms to the Marigold Tea Rooms, after the café in Dad's Army.
This would be in touch with the area's Dad's Army theme and Thetford's promotion of itself as the Dad's Army Town. It will be interesting to see if the owners make the change.