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Edgware-born Dad’s Army start to appear in 90th birthday West End show

Edgware-born Dad’s Army star celebrates his 90th birthday in the West End

Frank Williams, best known for playing Reverend Timothy Farthing in classic sitcom Dad’s Army, marks his 90th birthday in More Tea Vicar? at Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday, October 10.

‘Allo ‘Allo actress Sue Hodge and Hi-de-Hi! performers Jeffrey Holland and Sue Pollard join the much-loved actor for his birthday celebration.

Frank made his Dad’s Army debut in series three opener The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones and as well as appearing in 39 television episodes featured in radio and stage adaptations and the 1971 and 2016 movie versions.

“When I did the very first one as far as I was concerned that was just a week’s work and that was it,” says Frank. “I was delighted when I was invited back to do other episodes and by the time the very final series happened, I was in every episode. It was a good job. I have to say probably the happiest period of my life really.”

The playwright whose favourite episode is The Royal Train remembers the location shoots with affection.

“The location filming was fun. It was hard work but we enjoyed it,” says Frank. “I now look back on it, I think it was a bit scary in some ways because I don’t think there was the attention to health and safety that there is now. So, it was all a bit hazardous but we enjoyed it. It was like, well it wasn’t like going away on a holiday, but it was getting together with a group of people who got on well together in the open air and we always seem to have very good weather with it. So very enjoyable.”

Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s Home Guard comedy attracted 18 million viewers and won the BAFTA for Best Light Entertainment Production in 1971. The legendary BBC series was the Queen Mother’s favourite television programme. So why does Frank think the show is so popular?

“I think one of the reasons is it goes right across the age range,” says the Christian performer. “The scripts were extremely good. It has a nostalgic feel to it, so older people look back and remember a time when, although we were at war, it was a kind of more peaceful existence. Well certainly for those of us who weren’t in the thick of the bombing or anything. And a time when people came together.”

The oldest surviving member of the core cast of the British institution also believes the series has the power to please all the family.

“It is good family entertainment and that is one of its great successes,” adds Frank.

Frank’s CV also includes The Morecambe and Wise Show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Worker, Z-Cars, The Army Game, You Rang, M’ Lord?, Hi-de-Hi!, The Kenny Everett Television Show, The Two Ronnies, Norman Wisdom movies A Stitch in Time, The Bulldog Breed and The Square Peg and his first television appearance in 1952, The Call Up.

The lifelong Edgware resident who is president of the Dad’s Army Appreciation Society published his autobiography Vicar to Dad’s Army – The Frank Williams Story in 2002.

Chris Gidney puts the questions to Frank Williams in More Tea Vicar? at London’s Leicester Square Theatre at 2.00pm on October 10. Tickets are available at leicestersquaretheatre.com



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