DRONFIELD: Players mark 70th anniversary with production of Dad’s Army

Daniel Roberts , Rachael Hope, Paul Black, Margaret Harrison in Dad's Army, presented by Dronfield Players
Daniel Roberts , Rachael Hope, Paul Black, Margaret Harrison in Dad's Army, presented by Dronfield Players

Two brothers have spoken of their pride in heading a company’s 70th anniversary production.

Brendan Black and Paul Black are at the helm of Dad’s Army, which Dronfield Players have chosen for their landmark show.

Commander in chief Brendan is directing Paul in the lead role of Captain George Mainwaring, the banker turned Home Guard company leader.

Brendan, 55, said: “I feel privileged to be the director of probably the biggest play that we have done. Everyone has come up to the challenge and it has been great fun. I feel very proud of what the company have achieved.

“My dad was in the Army during the war. We lost him last year. He would have loved this play. He will be up there watching down.”

Paul, 62, said; “I am incredibly proud and humbled to have this part. I hope I can do it justice in every way.”

“Captain Mainwaring is such an iconic role to try and play and people will be comparing you to Arthur Lowe and his performance... I have managed to get the mannerisms and stance and get some semblance of his voice. Although you try to get some of it so the audience can relate to the character, you want to put your own stamp on it.

“Everyone wants to see Mainwaring come a cropper because he is so pompous - but he would lay down his life for his men.”

Mainwaring’s sidekick, the laidback, well-spoken Sgt Wilson, will be played by David Manning. He said: “ My dad was in the Home Guard during the war for four years and Dad’s Army is very true to life. His stories have added extra to the character and my enjoyment of the TV programme.”

The stage version of Dad’s Army includes three episodes from the TV series with the addition of Floral Dance, which was never seen on screen but performed at the Royal Variety Performance in 1975.

Forty performers are involved in Dronfield Players’ production. The youngest is 14-year-old Hollie Roe of Unstone, who plays a waitress, and joins her brother Jack, 19, playing a U-boat crew member and their grandfather David Roe, who plays the verger. The eldest is 84-year-old Bernie Charlesworth who plays Private Godfrey.

Newcomers to the ranks include Gill Richards, a Territoral Army midwife for 21 years and midwife at Chesterfield Royal Hospital for six years before she retired in 2006.

Gill, who lives in Dronfield Woodhouse, plays flirty Mrs Fox who sets her cap at Captain Mainwaring She said: “It is great fun and I am enjoying it very much. They are a great group of people to work with.”

Dad’s Army is running at Dronfield Civic Hall from Tuesday, April 16, to Saturday, April 20. Tickets £7 and £6; call 01246 417850.