UK TV Gold (joint owned by the BBC and Discovery Networks Northern Europe, and for many years the best place in the UK to watch Doctor Who repeats) will be remaking the missing episodes of the cult British WW2 sitcom Dad’s Army with a new cast – featuring numerous Doctor Who alumni.
As with Doctor Who, Dad’s Army was the victim of the BBC’s archive purge in the ’70s. The first two series were made in black and white, and thought to have limited commercial potential, and thus candidates for wiping. The first season was retained for sale to foreign markets, but sadly there wasn’t much interest. Consequently, of the 6 episodes of season 2, only 1 – Sgt. Wilson’s Little Secret – was retained. Two further episodes – Operation Kilt and The Battle of Godfrey’s Cottage – were returned to the BBC in 2001 after having been rescued from a skip by a collector, leaving 3 episodes still missing. All subsequent episodes, recorded in colour, have been retained by the BBC and remain in regular circulation on TV.
The audio for one missing episode – A Stripe for Frazer – was returned to the BBC by a private collector in 2008, and given a Power of the Daleks-style animation to accompany it in 2016. This was one of the initial offerings available on the BBC Store website, which has since been shut down. This leaves two episodes remaining from season two – Under Fire and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker – for which no material, visual or audio, exists.
UK TV Gold will be re-creating all three missing episodes, including the one previously animated by the BBC, using the original scripts.
Although a cinematic film was made in 2016, starring Toby Jones (Amy’s Choice), Bill Nighy (Vincent and the Doctor), and Michael Gambon (A Christmas Carol), none of the acting talent from that film will be used again in these re-creations.
The new cast announced so far includes:
Kevin McNally as Captain Mainwaring
He might be familiar to Doctor Who fans from his supporting role in the infamous Sixth Doctor story, The Twin Dilemma as Commander Hugo Lang. To add to his Doctor Who credentials, his wife – Downton Abbey star, Phyllis Logan – recently appeared in the Series 11 finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos as one of the Ux, Andinio. McNally has been appearing regularly on British TV since the mid-1970s, with his first screen appearance being the epic BBC drama series I, Claudius as Castor. Other notable roles include Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Horace Bryant in Downton Abbey, and Cult SF series Life on Mars as Supt. Harry Woolf.
Robert Bathurst as Sergeant Wilson
There is a precedent for Bathurst in this role, having previously played John le Mesurier, who originated the role, in a biopic of Hattie Jaques. Despite being another familiar face on British TV, Bathurst has yet to make a Doctor Who appearance, although he did star in the Steven Moffat comedy series, Joking Apart in the 1990s. His most notable role is as David Marsen in the ITV comedy-drama series, Cold Feet. He might also be familiar from his appearances in Red Dwarf as Frank Todhunter and Downton Abbey as Sir Anthony Strallan.
Bernard Cribbins as Private Godfrey
Especially well-known amongst the cast to Doctor Who fans is the legendary Bernard Cribbins as Private Godfrey. He will, of course, be familiar to fans from his multiple appearances as Donna’s Grandfather, Wilfred Mott in Series 4 and the 2008-2010 Specials of the revived series of Doctor Who. He also previously played accidental companion, Special Constable Tom Campbell in the Peter Cushing feature-film, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150AD and in Big Finish audio play, The Horror of Glam Rock as Arnold Korns. His numerous other credits include the children’s series, The Wombles; the CBeebies series, Old Jack’s Boat (which also features Doctor Who veteran, Freema Agyeman); and guest appearances in Fawlty Towers, Space: 1999, and Jon Pertwee’s series, Worzel Gummidge.
Tom Rosenthal as Private Pike
As one of the younger members of the cast, Rosenthal has relatively few credits to his name, but might be familiar from the comedy series, Friday Night Dinner and Plebs.
Kevin Eldon as Lance Corporal Jones
Eldon appeared recently in Doctor Who as Ribbons in the Thirteenth Doctor story, It Takes You Away, and previously in the 2001 webcast series, Death Comes to Time as one-time companion to the Seventh Doctor, Antimony. Among Eldon’s other credits are the cult comedy series, Fist of Fun, Big Train Hyper Drive, and Brass Eye.
Matthew Horne as the Spiv, Private Walker
Although never having made a Doctor Who appearance, Horne was a regular in the Catherine Tate Show, appeared with Paul McGann in the film, Lesbian Vampire Killers, and has collaborated on several occasions with The Lodger/Closing Time guest star, James Corden.
David Hayman as Private Frazer
This veteran character actor has been appearing regularly on British TV since the mid-1960s. His recent credits include Taboo and Hatton Garden.
Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes airs on Gold later in 2019.