Bill Pertwee (1926-2013)
Bill entered the entertainment profession in 1954 after a string of varied jobs. He first became involved by helping his cousin, the late Jon Pertwee, on tour performing a variety show at seaside locations. He must have learnt some stage craft from the wings, because sometime later he was asked to join Beryl Reid's revue at the Watergate Theatre. By 1955, he had decided he would turn professional. Small radio and TV parts as well as variety became Bill's staple until his break came with the offer to join the hugely popular radio show 'Beyond Our Ken' with Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams. This lead to appearing in the continuing series 'Round The Horne'. Bill was spotted by playing a similar character to Hodges in David Croft's Hugh & I . His Dad's Army character built up from a few lines to becoming a regular. Since the series finished, Bill has concentrated on his writing, completing over 6 books, and an autobiography 'A Funny Way To Make A Living'. He also appeared in the Croft & Perry comedy 'You Rang, M'Lord' as Police Constable Wilson. He has appeared in numerous theatre productions and pantomimes, as well as several feature films. Bill was President of the DAAS, a role he took seriously until his death in May 2013
ARP Warden Hodges
Mainwaring's greatest enemy - the local greengrocer with dirty fingernails who by night becomes the local Chief Air Raid Warden, ordering all and sundry to "Put that light out!". A 'common little man' according to both Mainwaring and Wilson, he would do his upmost to get one over on the platoon, even going as far as rowing out into the darkness to reprimand them for showing a light. He regularly teams up with the vicar or the verger against the Captain. There is slight friction between Hodges and Wilson, as he is Mrs Pike's landlord, and has, on occasion has taken her out for a drink - or two. Although showing signs of cowardice, there is no doubt that he would stand up against the Nazis would the occasion had arisen. Hodges served in the army during the last campaign and acted as a guard in a prison camp, where he managed to learn German, and is well respected in the town as their best bowler on the cricket team. He is aided in his shop by Mabel. .
Frank Williams (1931-2022)
Frank started his career in acting after spending time as an Assistant Stage Manager at London's Gateway Theatre, where he was given the opportunity to perform small walk on parts. He had always been attracted to acting from an early age. His first TV break came in 1952, playing a part in a dramatised documentary entitled 'The Call Up'. His first big screen appearance being made in 1956 in 'The Extra Day'. He continued working on stage until his big break came when he joined the cast of the popular ITV sitcom 'The Army Game' as Captain Pocket in 1958, appearing in over 100 episodes. Sadly, as they were transmitted live, not many have survived on tape. In 1957, Frank worked at The Palace Theatre, Watford, which was run by Jimmy and Gilda Perry, Frank had two of his own plays produced there, and this created a friendship with Jimmy, which, years later, would make him think of Frank to play the Vicar in Dad's Army. Frank has since appeared in over 30 films, numerous stage plays, many TV roles - serious and comedy, not to mention other Perry/Croft productions, most notably the Bishop in 'You Rang, M'Lord?'. Frank was also Vice President and supporter of the DAAS and wrote his autobiography 'From Vicar to Dad's Army'. A DVD has been made documenting his life entitled 'Dad's Army and Beyond', although it has yet to find a distributor.
The Reverend Timothy Farthing
The most inconvenient aspect of the war for his Reverence was the loss of his office to both the army and ARP. Not only that, his church hall was in constant demand from the army, sea scouts, boy scouts, girl guides, ARP, Women's Institute, the unmarried mothers club etc etc. active campanologist until his bells were taken away for the war effort, he used to be the editor of 'Ring-a-Ding Monthy'. Until taking up his position at St Aldhelms Church, he had previously been involved in missionary work, including a spell visiting the Umbarla-Umbarla. He now assists his Verger with sea scouts activities, and tries to compose interesting sermons to retain a dwindling congregation.
Edward Sinclair (1914-1977)
Although born into a theatrical family, Edward was to resist the temptation to turn professional until he had safely brought up his family. In the meantime, he continued to perform with amateur dramatics societies, enjoying the experience while continuing to earn a living from being a salesman. He turned professional in his late forties, starting off on radio before being noticed an offered small parts on TV. He first appeared in the fifth episode (before we had seen the Vicar) as the caretaker, but it wasn't until the fifth series that he became a regular. He also appeared in several films, and theatre productions, and was being offered work in panto just as the series finished. Unfortunately, he died soon after from a heart attack. This came a shock to all the cast members, and it was Arthur Lowe, who stated at his funeral service, "With the loss of Teddy, it is now quite clear that there will be no more Dad's Army."
Verger Maurice Yeatman
First seen as caretaker of the church hall, and soon to re-appear as the verger, still with a duster hanging from his belt. Responsible for the upkeep of the church and hall, the platoon, he feels, just creates more work, with their great big hob-nail boots. He is a bit of a sneak, and will always go running to the Vicar to 'tell' on Captain Mainwaring. He was once caught 'picking bluebells' with Mrs Fox, much to his wife, Anthea's, disgust. Although he can be trusted to lead the Sea Scouts, he cannot be trusted with the church collection, having to take it home to count is one thing, but taking it to the Red Lion is another...
Pamela Cundell (1920-2015)
Pam was born into a show business family, and it is not surprising that she didn't want to do anything else. She trained at the Guildford School of Music and Drama before cutting her teeth in rep and summer shows, as a stand up comic. Pam has worked with many of the great comics, including Frankie Howard, Benny Hill and Bill Frazer, the latter to whom she married. Making her first television appearance in 1957 with Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine, she has since appeared in many popular shows, including, The Bill, On The Buses, Casualty, Z Cars, The Borrowers, Big Deal and The Benny Hill Show. Pam has kept busy with theatre work and panto, and has appeared in several feature films, and in 2002 worked on a film by Mel Smith.
Mrs Muriel Fox
During the course of the war, Mrs Fox sadly becomes a widow. This is good news to butcher Jack Jones who has admired her for sometime. This admiration is returned, with little 'extras' being passed across the counter on her visits to his shop. Beset with bad luck during the war, we hear that her brother did not make it through by the time she has been courted by Jones and accepts his hand in marriage. She is also very fond of George Mainwaring and even asks him to give her away since she no longer has any male relatives. Always looking her best and with her trademark fox fur draped over her shoulders, Mrs Fox brings light to any room she steps into to.
Colin Bean (1926-2009)
Colin's first appearance was as a shepherd in a school play, and much against his father's will, he took up acting professionally until being called up for National Service. He served for four years, spending some time in Japan, and taking the opportunity to continue his acting by joining the BCOF. After graduating from drama school in 1952 he joined the Sheffield Rep as assistant stage manager, this was followed by regular theatre work. It was working with Jimmy Perry at the Watford Palace Theatre in 1962, that led him to be given the role of Private Sponge, as well as almost 20 years of playing a pantomime dame! His TV appearances have been varied, including 'Z Cars', 'The Gnomes of Dulwich', 13 episodes of 'Michael Bentine Time', although due to arthritis, he has mainly concentrated on his radio work. He wrote his autobiography 'Who Do You Think YOU ARE KIDDING!' which was published in 1998. His last public appearance was at Thetford's Dad's Army Day celebrations in 2009.
Private Enoch Sponge
Local sheep farmer and regular member of the platoon. Private Sponge was in charge of the number two section of the platoon - Corporal Jones' opposite. Sometimes forgotten by Captain Mainwaring, they took over once Jones' section had finished. Private Sponge was asked to provide a ram from his flock for The Big Parade, but it was a the time of year when they were "a bit funny" and very difficult to catch. His farm, on which he lived with his wife, was situated quite close to the town, or at least within a short march.
Michael Knowles (1937)
Michael started his acting career at the Placae Theatre, Watford, which brought him to the attention of one Jimmy Perry, who was manager there at the time.
Jimmy liked to use actors he knew, and so Michael was used in various episodes of Dad's Army as a senior office.
When it came to casting the of (silly ass) Captain Ashwood in 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum', he easily fell into the role. Now part of the Croft and Perry 'rep company', he was later cast as Fanshaw in Croft & Lloyd's 'Come Back, Mrs Noah' followed and Croft and Perry's 'You Rang M'Lord' (Teddy Meldrum).
Not content will performing in front of the camera, Michael has also written several episodes of 'Are You Being Served?' as well as acting in two.
Michael also starred in the stage version Hi-De-Hi! as Jeffery Fairbrother, taking over from Simon Cadell due to his other commitments.
He also adapted Dad's Army with great success (along with Harold Snoad'), for the radio. in addition to the Dad's Army spin off - 'It Sticks Out Half a Mile', which was later adapted for TV, albeit with a different cast.
Captains Cutts / Reed / Stewart, BBC Producer, Engineering Officer
Basically the same character under different names. One suspects that today, his name character would have had the same name applied throughout. He appears only as the voice of the BBC Engineer.
Janet Davies (1927-1986)
Originally trained as a shorthand typist, Janet worked for the BBC before deciding to try her hand at various reps in Leatherhead, Northampton and Watford, to name a few. When she wasn't acting, she earned a living from her shorthand skills, and thus always kept busy. Janet made appearance in many TV productions, including 'All Creatures Great and Small', 'Open All Hours', 'Last of the Summer Wine', 'Pride and Prejudice','The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin' and 'Sadie'. She also made appearances in a number of feature films, Dad's Army, unfortunately, was not one of them.
Mrs Mavis Pike
Widow, and mollycoddling mother to Frank Pike, and doting companion to Arthur Wilson. She rents a house from Mr Hodges, and looks after Arthur's ration books, although he has his own accommodation, it is suggested that they cohabit. This is further emphasised when Frank states that he leaves after he has gone to bed and returns for breakfast before he gets up! Mavis is not afraid of anyone, least of all Captain Mainwaring, of whom she is jealous because as the war progresses, he is spending more time with her precious son than she Is. The Pikes moved from Weston Super Mare, Somerset, at the same time as Arthur Wilson was transferred to the Walmington Branch as Chief Clerk. There are rumours that Frank is Arthur's son (confirmed by the shows writers), but this subject is never given enough time during the episodes. Mrs Pike is comfortably off, having shares invested paying good dividends, but is restricted due to the imposition of rationing.
Eric Longworth (1918-2008)
Eric had decided from an early age to become an actor, but had his hopes dashed when his father died and Eric had to help support the family. He was 17 at the time. Up to his call up in 1939, which included a spell in Bombay, he had joined the Crompton Stage Society, a local amateur company, playing character parts to stall his ambitions. After demob, he decided to go professional, joining the Oldham Rep, staying with them for 11 years. A break in acting occurred when he decided to work as a theatre manager between 1951 & 1957. His first TV appearance was in 1963, and was usually cast as civil servants or retired colonels. Eric appeared in a 1972 episode of 'Lollipop' written by Jimmy Perry, which could have lead to him being chosen for the part of the Town Clerk. During the Dad's Army Stage Show, Eric understudied (but, as he states, was thankfully never used for) Arthur Lowe. he has made a few films, and in the years before his death spent most of his time flying around the globe visiting family, mixed in with the occasional voice over, and appearances for the DAAS.
Claude Gordon - Town Clerk
The fussing Town Clerk took over during the war years from Mr Rees, and attempts to bring some life into the town, arranging visits from Russian dignitaries, bazaars, a Spitfire Fund and themed events. Despite his vagueness, he manages to chair meetings, and control proceedings in the light of interruptions from those present. He is not liked by Jack Jones, for the simple fact that he was 'stepping out' with Mrs Fox for some time, despite being a 'bald headed old duffer'. He has a weakness for fleshings and everything is "very nice, very nice indeed".
Robert Raglan (1906-1985)
A solid supporting actor, Robert appeared in many films, mainly as authority figures, policeman, officers etc, including 'Private's Progress' and 'Brothers in law'. Starting out in rep until war broke out, he joined and toured overseas with ENSA, having previously attended drama school. He decided to concentrate on TV work following two heart attacks while appearing with Robert Morley in the West End. .
The Colonel keeps an eye on the Eastgate, Eastbourne, Dymchurch, Dymwhich & Walmington platoons. Visiting from time to time and getting news of their latest 'hair brained' schemes. He is a very patient man, with alot of military experience behind him. He is not one to dull the enthusiasm of anyone. He is certainly on the side of the Walmington-on-Sea platoon, and has cause to turn several blind eyes.
Geoffrey Lumsden (1915-1984)
Geoffrey won a scholarship to train at RADA whist still working at a colliery training as an engineer. It was there he caught the acting bug, putting on concerts for the workforce. Working in Rep, his career was interrupted by the war, where part of this time was served in Burma. Returning to the theatre, he soon became a playwright and managed to perform on various TV shows, as well as the occasional film. His character, although one of Mainwaring's adversaries, is much liked by the viewers in the same way as Hodges is.
A wealth of military experience lurks beneath the brusque exterior of this well meaning individual, frozen in the 'Colonel Blimp' mentality of earlier campaigns, he will not compromise. Do it his way, or not at all. Too old for regular service, he finds an outlet in the Home Guard for his frustration. After all, who would not want a Colonel who served with Lawrence of Arabia between 1915 and 1919 in the desert? He lives at the impressive Marsham Hall, and first crosses swords with Mainwaring when offering to supply arms to the Walmington platoon in exchange for taking command of his men. When he fails, he joins the Eastgate platoon, enlisting his butler, Parkins as Sergeant ("rotten sergeant, damn good butler").
Harold Bennett (1899-1981)
Harold's career boasted over 200 stage and TV credits, which commenced form an early age when he worked as a circus clown. He took a break from acting professionally to bring up his children in a more stable environment, gaining employment from an electric light company, although he continued with amateur dramatics. Harold returned to acting professionally once he retired at 65, and is probably best known for his role as Young Mr Grace in 'Are You Being Served?' Although always looking older than his years, it is well known that Harold always turned on a professional performance despite looking exceedingly frail.
Sydney / Norman Bluett / Blewitt
One of Walmington-on-Sea's oldest inhabitants. For years he held the photographic concession on the West Promenade, selling photographs to passers by and trippers. His earlier careers) are lost in the fog of time, but since retirement, he has become a Jack of all trades. One of his many tasks is gardener to the Vicar, but he could so easily turn his hand to restoring old picture frames ("there's a dying art"), repairing bicycles, portrait photography, keeping chickens to name a few. Although being married for 50 years, there is still life in the wrinkled frame, as he is caught out with Mrs Yeatman on a Darby & Joan bus trip.