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Veteran stars of 'Dad's Army' on sprightly form at anniversary reunion

July 9, 2008
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Although the majority of the cast are now well into their 80s and 90s, there was a vibrant party atmosphere when the stars of sitcom classic Dad's Army reunited on Wednesday. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the screening of the show's first episode, the veteran actors gathered for a birthday bash - fittingly held at London's Imperial War Museum.

"I'm going to try to stay alive till 5pm!" quipped 88-year-old Clive Dunn when asked how he'd be marking the occasion. The actor - who played Lance Corporal Jones in the hit show - was in a jovial mood, mirrored by that of his former co-stars.

"I like watching the repeats - seeing myself slimmer and a lot younger!" joked Frank Williams, 77, whose character in the series, which came to an in 1977 and drew audiences of 18 million in its heydey, was Reverend Timothy Farthing.

There was a special treat in store for the cast of the long-running comedy, too, as Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn put in an appearance at their party.

"I've come to see the boys," she revealed affectionately. "For a lot of people Dad's Army brings back a lot of memories, and for the young people a glimpse of the sort of programmes we watched in those days."

Meanwhile Ian Lavender, who portrayed Private Pike in the series, revealed he's surprised by the show's enduring popularity. "It's amazing that there are children watching this now whose parents were not born when we started. It's really extraordinary!" he said.

The actor, who's more recently starred as Derek in EastEnders, thinks he knows why it remains as popular as ever, though. "It's because it's so funny and all the family can watch it - your granny, the kids, everyone," he explained.

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Photo: ©
The cast of the long-running WWII-set comedy gathered for a party on Wednesday, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the screening of the first episode Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn came along, too. "I'm here to see the boys!" announced the We'll Meet Again singer Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
In its heyday the hit show, which focused on the activities of the Home Guard during the Second World War, drew around 18 million viewers Photo: © Getty Images

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