Feature: Dad’s Army

May, 1944. As the Allied armies massed in the British Isles prepare to invade Occupied Europe and strike a mighty blow against Hitler’s Reich, a heavy responsibility falls on the men of Walmingtonon-Sea’s Home Guard platoon. They must prevent a Nazi spy discovering the Allies’ deliberate campaign of misinformation – Operation Bodyguard – and thus learning of Eisenhower’s plan to invade Normandy rather than Pas-de-Calais. As the clock to D-Day ticks down, can Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and their eager but occasionally ragtag unit prevent total catastrophe befalling the Allies’ war effort?  
“There’s a war on… 
We have Simon Cowell and The X-Factor partly to thank for DAD’S ARMY. “I was in front of the telly on a Saturday evening three or four years ago, not wanting to watch The X-Factor,” recalls producer Damian Jones of his eureka moment, “so I channel-surfed and there on BBC Two was Dad’s Army.” Enjoying the re-run of the revered Jimmy Perry and David Croft comedy, The History Boys producer tuned in again the following weekend. “Here it was, still on at prime time and still funny. I thought, ‘This is mad for a 30 or 40-year-old television show!’” Intrigued, the filmmaker tracked down the viewing figures. He discovered that nearly three million Britons were still tuning in every week to watch the well-worn, beloved wartime comedy, and even more for Christmas repeats. Viewers were still lapping up the misadventures of Captain Mainwaring and his men.  
Interest piqued, Jones approached the Dad’s Army estate with the idea for a movie. “They were open to it,” he remembers of their first meeting, “so I got (screenwriter) Hamish [McColl] on board and we shared our thoughts with them. That’s how it started to come together.” Co-creator David Croft’s widow, Ann, her family and Jimmy Perry were each pitched the idea for a big movie adaptation. Each, in turn, gave their approval. 
The key decision was to transplant DAD’S ARMY to a point later in the war than viewers had seen in the classic comedy. For Hamish McColl, the Allies’ real-life subterfuge campaign that had been cooked up to throw the Germans off the scent of their real D-Day targets – Operation Bodyguard – offered the perfect mix of high stakes and rich comic potential. “When I started the research, I saw photos of members of the Home Guard holding up inflatable tanks and balsa wood planes,” remembers the screenwriter, “and I thought, ‘This is Dad’s Army! This is perfect’. It’s got all the aspirations of war and all the comedy of an inflatable tank.” 
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