Sunday, 22 November 2009

An Evening with Frank Williams

The Vicar has left the Building....

The first event the Dad's Army podcast has co-ordinated with the Dad's Army Appreciation Society took place yesterday evening, in a church hall in Kentish Town. Frank Williams played host to over 70 attendees who braved the driving rain to hear Frank talk about his time in Dad's Army and his wider career.

Frank spent over an hour speaking to the attendees and relished regaling the rapt audience with stories from his time on Dad's Army. He also talked about growing up in the second world war and about his first job within the acting business.

The evening also saw the UK premier of a new documentary about Frank entitled 'Dad's Army and Beyond: The Frank Williams Story' which the audience gobbled up and then asked questions of Frank. Producer Oliver Crocker and Director Mervyn Cumming were also on hand to discuss their experiences of making the documentary. It is hoped that the programme will be made available through the Appreciation Society in the near future - more news on that as it happens.

Episode 41 of the podcast will be a longer than usual podcast and will feature Frank's interview in full. It will also include a five minute interview Frank gave to Radio London early yesterday morning to promote the event.

On a personal note, I was mortified (as was Frank, Oliver and pretty much everyone else there) at how bad the sound was for the first half an hour of the night - which included two screenings of Frank's work. It was almost impossible to make any of the words out at all - as Frazer would have said, it sounded as though the actors were 'mumblin', mumblin'!! At the time though, this was far from a laughing matter. Fortunately, this was a temporary hitch and we able to vastly improve the quality of the sound after the first very awkward half an hour. Many thanks to all the wonderful attendees for being so patient with us - lessons have been learned.

The technical difficulties aside, the food was great, the premier of Oliver's documentary was exceptionally well received and many people came up to me after the event and said how much they enjoyed the evening. You were all so very kind!!

Hope you enjoy the podcast of the evening once I've managed to edit it all together - should be online over on the main podcast page by mid-December.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

You've had your chips!!

Frank Williams event just one week away

Pre-booking for the Vicar and Chips event has now closed - however, do not worry if you have not managed to make your booking, you can turn up on the night - but we will not be able to provide you with dinner! So your evening will be Vicar and no Chips. As such, the entry price to those of you arriving on the night will be £6.00, but remember to have eaten beforehand!

For full event details, see the below blog-entry.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Come and meet his Reverence!

Vicar and Chips event nears

Frank Williams will be attending an evening wittily (ahem) entitled 'Vicar and Chips' on Saturday 21 November 2009 at a church hall in Kentish Town. The Dad's Army podcast and Dad's Army Appreciations Society are jointly organising the evening.

As the title suggests, the evening will centre on Frank Williams and will feature several clips from his television and film career including some of Franks most recent work for independent production companies.

The highlight of the evening will be the full, un-cut British premier of 'Dad's Army and Beyond: the Frank Williams Story'. Oliver Crocker (producer), Mervyn Cumming (director) and of course Frank will be present and will be interviewed - by me! Poor souls. The DVD will also be on sale to attendees who will of course, have the opportunity to get copies signed by Frank, Oliver and Mervyn.

The details are:

Our Lady Help of Christians
4 Lady Margaret Road
Kentish Town

6.30pm to 10.00pm

£7.50 per ticket (includes fish and chip supper)

In order to book you can complete the booking form below and send it off as quickly as possible. Tickets are selling well but are limited - there are however a number still available.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Vicar n Chips!

Frank Williams event announced for November 2009

Frank Williams will be appearing at an event the podcast is jointly organising with the Dad's Army Appreciation Society on 21st November 2009. The centrepiece of the evening will be the premier of Dad's Army and Beyond: the Frank Williams Story. The producer of the show will also be present and hopefully the director too. I will be interviewing all three after the screening, and the audience will have a chance to ask questions too. Oh, and you get a fish n chip supper too! Listen to podcast 37 for more details.

The event will begin at 6.30pm and be held in a Church Hall - yes, the Vicar is returning to a church hall!

The address of the venue is:

Our Lady Help of Christians
4 Lady Margaret Road
Kentish Town

A map can be found by clicking here.

Dad's Army Appreciation Society members can book by filling in the booking form published in the most recent Society magazine (PTSS 61) or can visit the Society's members page, non-members can e-mail me at to request a form - or until I an figure out how to upload a pdf document onto the blog! Tickets cost £7.50 each.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Godfrey's Ghost

New Arnold Ridley book to published September 2009

A new book about Arnold Ridley is being published by Mogzilla Life on 1st September 2009. The book has been penned by Arnold’s son Nicolas, and is called “Godfrey’s Ghost: From Father to Son”. Nicolas has kindly sent the podcast the following information about the book.

Arnold had a fascinating life which stretched from the rule of Queen Victoria to the ascension of Margaret Thatcher to the office of Prime Minister. He fought in two world wars, wrote a best selling play that is still frequently performed today and is perhaps most famous for playing the eldest member of the Walmington-On-Sea Home Guard, Pte. Charles Godfrey.

You can request a signed copy of the book be sent to you pre-publication from
Mogzilla’s Godfrey's Ghost webpage – otherwise the book will be available in both hardback (£15.99) and paperback (£9.99).

Friday, 10 July 2009

Pike's Broadcast to the Empire **updated 14 July 2009**

Ian Lavender to star on LBC Radio

Ian Lavender is guesting on Steve Allen's popular LBC radio chat show, 'In coversation with....' The interview is being recording this weekend. However, at the time of writing, I cannot find out for sure when it will be broadcast. LBCs scheduling has an 'In conversation with...' show going out this Sunday at both 7:00am and 9:00pm although it is not clear if this will be the Lavender interview. LBC goes out on 97.3 FM. If anyone knows or manages to find out when the show is due to go out, please let me know by sending me an e-mail or by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

**UPDATED 14 JULY 2009**

Ian's interview was broadcast on London Broadcasting Radio (LBC) on Sunday 12 July 2009. Ian spent an hour talking to Steve Allen (pictured above) about his life and career. As one would expect, Dad's Army featured prominantly. At one point, Ian said that every role he has won since his days in Dad's Amy was due to his success as Frank Pike. Ian also talks about his part as Derek Harkinson in EastEnders and his past stage performances. In the final ten minutes, Ian talks candidly about his health and describes what happened when he suffered a heart attack whilst he was a member of the EastEnders cast. Moving stuff.

Ian is currently playing Monsignor Howard in the stage version of Sister Act at the London Palladium.

The interview is currently available by visiting the LBC listen again website and then clicking on 'In coversation with...'. You will need to sign up in order to download the interview and pay a nominal charge.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Pike at the Palladium

Ian Lavender to star in Sister Act

Ian Lavender has been cast as Monsignor Howard in the London Stage show Sister Act. The play opened at the London Palladium on 2 June and currently booking until February 2010 - although it has not been confirmed how long Lavender will star. The show has received mixed reviews - and I will bring you mine once I have booked my ticket! I never thought I'd have a reason to go and see Sister Act - cheers Mr Lavender! The former stupid boy stars alongside Sheila Hancock and Patina Miller and has received third billing. Ian's biog apprears on the production's official website.
Good luck to Ian - in all seriousness, it is good see Ian back treading the West End boards - I wish him the best of luck.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Colin Bean RIP 1927 to 2009

Private Sponge actor passes away

It is with great sadness that I report that Colin Bean passed away on Saturday 20 June 2009. Colin played Private Sponge throughout the whole of nine years Dad's Army was produced and was a keen supporter of the Dad's Army Appreciation Society for many years. An ever-present section leader in the Walmington-on-Sea platoon, Private Sponge was seen in the second rank in most parade scenes. As time moved on, he was given several speaking parts and a little character development. Colin's career was varied, but he will be best remembered for the part he played in Dad's Army.

In later years, Colin regaled audiences with stories about his time filming Dad's Army in the popular 'An Audience with Colin Bean' events, some of which were filmed and can be seen on YouTube.

The story is reported in Wigan Today and can be read here.

Rest in peace Colin, you will be most affectionately remembered.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Podcast 35

Locations Tour 2009

Apologies for the long interval since I've last blogged - been really busy at work, home and, you'll be pleased to hear, with loads of Dad's Army related stuff.

Firstly, the 2009 locations tour podcast is now online over at the main podcast page. Make sure you check out Episodes 35a and 35b. Frank Williams was an absolute gem - I really can't get enough of that man. He is so enthusiastic about Dad's to this day, and he is so eloquent and articulate when talking about his memories of filming Dad's Army. What is also clear is his affection for his co-stars. There is no hint of envy or jealousy about the fact that he played such a minor role compared to the regular cast members. What amazes me is how youthful he is on these tours - they are not short events (four hours without a loo stop!) and the terrain is often rough enough to challenge even the fittest of fans, but not only does Frank cope admirably, he positively enjoys himself. Anyway, as always, let me know what you think of this podcast by sending me an e-mail - If you happen to be based in or live near London then keep an eye out on the blog for a Frank related event in November this year - can't say too much at present as we're still in the early stages of planning, but if its comes off then tickets will be as keenly sought after as Walker's silk parachute-knickers!

Dad's Army podcast on Twitter!

The podcast now has a Twitter page - I'm very new to all this interwebby promotion stuff, but realise that the next generation of fans will expect there to be a very strong, online presence (other than the podcast itself), so this is my attempt to get with it. I will try to post all the latest dad's army and podcast news on this page so make sure you keep an eye on it, and post responses! Twitter is one of the easiest modern-day networking sites to use - all you need to do is sign up (takes two minutes) and click on 'follow' and you'll be kept up to date on all things Dad's Army.

And finally.....

Keep you ears peeled for a rather exciting announcement about the future of the podcast very soon. All very mysterious I know, but I should hopefully be able to announce something fairly major that will greatly enhance the enjoyment listeners' get out of the podcast over the few weeks. More soon.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Tour of Locations 2009

Perry and Croft weekend 2009

A set of photos taken on the tour of Dad's Army locations that took place on 9 May 2009 is now available by clicking on the slideshow to the right. The tour was organised by the Dad's Army Appreciation Society and visited several locations on the Ministry of Defence ground at Stanta. The MOD ground is usually a no-go area to members of the public so this specially arranged tour was a real treat. We were accompanied by Frank Williams who shared several of his memories whilst filming at Stanta.

As there was last year, there will be a podcast containing the commentary from Frank, and our tour guide Tony Pritchard of the Appreciation society. What Tony doesn't know about Dad's Army really isn't worth knowing! The recordings will form podcast 35 and be on-line as soon as I have had a chance to edit the numerous anecdotes I managed to record.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

New podcast online

Episode 34

Episode 34 of the Dad's Army podcast is now on-line and available to listen to or download from the main podcast page.

This month, Paul Carpenter from the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society joins me for the whole episode and previews the premier event on the Society’s calendar, the 2009 Perry and Croft Day which is due to be held on Sunday 10 May at at Bressingham Steam Museum. Paul announces which stars will be appearing (subject to work commitments and good health) and provides an insight into what it takes to put on such an event.

We then discuss the first episode of Dad’s Army I ever saw, Don’t forget the Diver – an absolute classic series 4 episode from 1970.

Episode 35 of the podcast will feature a number of interviews with the stars of Dad’s Army - I hope to be talking to several of the cast and crew at Bressingham.

Take a listen to episodes 20 and 21 of the podcast to hear coverage of last years event.

As always, we’d love to hear from you so please send in your feedback to

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New podcast on-line

Frank Williams stars in Episode 33

Episode 33 of the Dad’s Army podcast is now on-line and available to listen to over at the main podcast page or on iTunes. This month we are joined by none other than Frank Williams himself – the Reverend Timothy Farthing, to discuss the often controversial film interpretation of Dad’s Army.

The entire podcast team were present for this one – and Frank shares his experiences of being part of the production and talks about his many talented co-stars. The film has always divided fan opinion – some believing the series made a seamless transfer from TV to the silver screen whilst others believe it a travesty of the telly series. Why not have your say? E-mail us at but above all, enjoy the podcast.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

1975 Stage Show gets CD release

Sergeant Wilson's Little Secrets - secret no more!

The 1975 Dad's Army Stage Show recording is finally getting a release on CD. The release will be available to buy, courtesy of Warner Brothers, on 13 April 2009.

The recording features the original cast and is identical to the vinyl version released many years ago. Warner went back to the original recordings when mastering this release and found some extra material recorded by John Le Mesurier - which did not make it onto the original vinyl version - unfortunately the decision was taken not to include this additional material on the CD. it may however find the light of day in a future release but no further information is available at this time.

The Amazon listing for the CD is can be seen here.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Dad's Army and Beyond: The Frank Williams Story

Producer of new documentary interviewed on the Dad's Army podcast

Episode 32 of the Dad's Army podcast is now online and available to listen to from the main podcast page, or to download from iTunes.

This month we go through the latest Dad's Army news, sift through the podcast's mailbag and bring you an exclusive interview with Oliver Crocker - the Producer of Frank Williams new documentary, 'Dad's Army and Beyond, the Frank Williams story'. Oliver talks about filming with Frank and tells some fantastic stories.

Frank and Oliver have worked together before - in a typecasting busting move, Frank stars as a really nasty piece of work in the Devonfire production, Tanner. A trailer for the film is on YouTube and features Frank - you can view it here;

Episode 33 will feature Frank himself as he joins the entire podcast team talking about the sometimes controversial, Dad's Army movie. As always, please send in your feedback to and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Podcast to record Dad's Army Movie special!

Your comments are required!

Following several requests from listeners, this weekend, the entire podcast team will be recording a round table discussion about the sometimes controversial, 1971 Dad's Army movie. I have great pleasure in announcing that Frank Williams, (the Reverend Timothy Farthing) will be joining us for what promises to be a very entertaining and lively discussion. If you have comments about the movie in general, or have any questions you like us to put to Frank then please send them to me at by 6:00pm Friday 20 February (GMT) and I'll do my best to include them in the podcast.

The recording will form Episode 33 of the podcast and is likely to be on-line mid to late March 2009. Episode 32 should be on-line at some point over the next 10 days or so. The podcast's main page is here.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New Dad's Army podcast now on-line

Episode 31

The first Dad's Army podcast of 2009 is now on-line and available at

This edition of the podcast is a little different from the usual format – Paul Carpenter from the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society brings you a review (featuring several wonderful clips) from the recently recovered audio versions of the 1968 Christmas Night with the Stars sketch and the off-air recording of series 2’s A Stripe for Frazer. Thanks to Paul for putting together such a fantastic piece of audio and giving all you lucky podcast listeners the opportunity to hear what is in effect, brand new Dad’s Army.

If that wasn’t enough, Clare returns to the podcast and reviews the classic Christmas Special, My Brother and I.

Podcast 32 will be the long promised feedback episode and as I have yet to record it, you have a great opportunity to get your comments on the show. I am particularly interested to hear what episode of Dad's Army you would like us to review and chat about in the future. Send in your thoughts to me at or click on 'comments' at the foot of this posting.