Dad’s Army fans be on guard: a new adaptation of the classic BBC TV sitcom, the first major staging of the show since the 1970s, hits theatres this autumn. The production opens on 5 September 2007 at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre, before touring for four more months to 11 further venues.

Producer Ed O'Driscoll with Herefordshire-based theatre company Calibre will bring three episodes written by TV series creators David Croft and Jimmy Perry to the stage in September with former EastEnder star Leslie Grantham playing Private Walker and Peter Martin (The Royle Family, Emmerdale) taking on Captain Mainwaring.

The stage version comprises three episodes - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker and A Stripe for Frazer - that were lost when original tapes were wiped by the BBC for reuse in 1969. The third episode, The Deadly Attachment, is one of Dad’s Army’s most popular.

Dad’s Army hit television screens in 1968, playing for a further nine years until 1977. It followed the misadventures of the home guard responsible for protecting England’s south coast from Channel invaders during the Second World War. The cast was populated by stage and screen veterans Arthur Lowe (1915–82), John Le Mesurier (1912–83), Arnold Ridley (1896–1984), John Laurie (1897–1980) and Clive Dunn. In 2004 Dad’s Army was voted Britain’s fourth favourite sitcom according to a BBC poll.

Following Stevenage, the tour will visit Sheffield, Northampton, Dartford, Wolverhampton, Worthing, Southend, Cardiff, High Wycombe, Darlington and Hull and then conclude on 5 January 2008 at the Lowry in Manchester.

- by Malcolm Rock