Belfast Telegraph

Army of fans laughing at classic sitcom memories

By Terry Blain

Fans of the perennially popular BBC sitcom Dad's Army were out in numbers for the visit of former cast member Frank Williams to the Belfast Book Festival.

Williams was Rev Timothy Farthing, the serial's bald-headed, bespectacled vicar, whose main frustration in life was sharing his ecclesiastical premises with Captain Mainwaring and his doughty Home Guard contingent.

Hosted by Chris Gidney in chirpy end-of-pier fashion, the show begins with a nostalgic collage of stills from Dad's Army, before Williams himself appears to occupy the second cosy armchair on the platform.

Williams' flood of reminiscence seems virtually unstoppable, as he takes audience suggestions for favourite Dad's Army characters, and gives pen-portraits of the actors who played them. He also paid tribute to the "absolutely brilliant" scripts of Dad Army's co-writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft.

He was in approximately half of the 80 episodes, and confessed himself mildly astonished that they are still attracting viewers in the maxed-out television schedules of the 21st century.

Three stars

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