Dad’s Army brings success to county

Philip Gascoyne (right) pictured with actor Daniel Mays who plays Walker in the new Dad's Army film
Philip Gascoyne (right) pictured with actor Daniel Mays who plays Walker in the new Dad's Army film

A retired care officer rubbed shoulders with a stellar cast of actors after enlisting in the Home Guard for the new Dad’s Army movie.

Philip Gascoyne, 60, of Adel, Leeds was hired as an extra to play one of eight members of the platoon supporting the seven star actors, including Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring and Bill Nighy as Wilson.

Mr Gascoyne, a father-of-two, spent five days filming in October and November for the new film, which has been shot entirely on locations in Yorkshire.

He worked on locations at Bempton Cliffs near Flamborough, Beverley and Bridlington’s old town, which doubles up as Walmington-on-Sea from the classic 1970s TV television series.

Mr Gascoyne, who retired from his job as a senior care officer with Leeds City Council’s social services last year, has an interest in films and took a short introduction to acting course in April on a friend’s recommendation.

Shortly afterwards, agency Bond Models recommended him for the Dad’s Army film.

The film’s production company set Mr Gascoyne a stern test when he was called to an audition at a former school building they had set up as a headquarters on Belvedere Road at Scarborough.

It involved a three hour marching and drill session, which was overseen by an ex-army instructor.

Mr Gascoyne said: “It was good fun, but quite tiring. I was in the Air Cadets as a teenager and that experience came in handy.”

He added: “I really enjoyed Dad’s Army when I was younger, so to be in a film concerning one of my favourite programmes is a dream come true.

“It’s been a complete change to the stresses and strains of working with young offenders, which I enjoyed. But after 33 years it was time for a change.

“It’s been a fantastic experience and a real privilege to be involved with a film like this. My father, who is 98 and served with the RAF during World War Two and had two brothers in the Home Guard, is already asking when he can see the film.

“I know some people are saying that it isn’t possible to recreate the original characters Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson, Jones the Butcher etc, but I think the quality of the cast will ensure the film will have all the appeal of the television series.”

Richard Knight, head of production at Screen Yorkshire, said: “Dad’s Army came to the region due to a substantial investment from the Yorkshire Content Fund, managed by Screen Yorkshire.”

“We’ve been delighted with the positive impact the filming has been having in East Riding, there has been a real buzz around the various filming locations over the past few months.

“The film will be screened in cinemas around the world which effectively gives global marketing to the area, which will hopefully translate into a lasting legacy in terms of visits by fans.

“At Screen Yorkshire we’re working hard to bring more high profile projects to the region and when we successfully host a film such as Dad’s Army, word spreads around the industry that Yorkshire is a great place in which to film.

“The can-do’ attitude of all of the various local authorities, businesses and residents alike has been extremely important to the success of Dad’s Army.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved for their kind support - they’ve been a credit to Yorkshire.”

The original Dad’s Army television series ran from 1968 to 1977.

It is still regularly repeated by the BBC and in 2004 was voted into fourth place in a poll to find Britain’s most popular sitcom.