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Dad's Army cast then and now: see which actors played the iconic roles in the film adaptation

The much-loved sitcom was recreated for a film in 2016

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Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
June 6, 2020
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Dad's Army continues to bring audiences so much joy, even over 40 years after the last episode. The BBC sitcom, which is still shown on TV today, was so popular that it spurred two films and a spin-off series. The first film based on the show was released back in 1971 starring the original cast. The second film was released more recently in 2016 with a number of well-known faces such as Bill Nighy, Sir Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon. Many other big names in the industry had supporting roles in the film including Catherine Zeta Jones and Emily Atack. Click through the gallery to see the original cast alongside the actors who played their iconic roles in the modern film.

Captain Mainwaring: Arthur Lowe and Toby Jones

Taking the lead role of Captain Mainwaring was Arthur Lowe. Arthur's role as the pompous caption was perhaps his most iconic role, but the actor also appeared in others shows such as Coronation Street and many other films. Toby Jones is a 53-year-old who took on the lead role for the latest film adaption. Toby's film credits include: The Hunger Games, Captain America, Jurassic World and more. He's also appeared in TV shows such as Sherlock and Detectorists.

MORE: Remembering Dad's Army cast mates who have sadly passed away

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Sergeant Arthur Wilson: John Le Mesurier and Bill Nighy

John le Mesurier was also perhaps best known for his role as Sergeant Wilson, often questioning Mainwaring's actions. However, John also starred in theatre productions of Shakespeare and Priestley plays. Taking over from John for the film was Bill Nighy. Bill is perhaps best known for his roles in films such as Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean, About Time and many more.

MORE: Where are the cast of Pride and Prejudice now?

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Lance Corporal Jack Jones: Clive Dunn and Sir Tom Courtenay

Clive Dunn played Lance Corporal Jack Jones, the "worrier" of the group. Playing Clive's role as Jack Jones in the 2016 film is esteemed actor Sir Tom Courtenay. Tom is a BAFTA winning actor known for his roles in mid-twentieth century blockbusters like Doctor Zhivago (a role for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award), Billy Liar and The Dresser.

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Private James Fazer: John Laurie and Bill Paterson

Scottish actor John Laurie played Private James Fazer, most loved for his catchphrase 'we're doomed. Doomed!" Bill Paterson played the role of James Fazer in the film. Bill is also known for his role in Fleabag, Truly Madly Deeply, and Ian McKellen's Richard III.

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Private Charles Godfrey: Arnold Ridley and Michael Gambon

Playing Private Charles Godfrey was Arnold Ridley, who was known for his theatre work as well as TV work prior to starring in Dad's Army. Arnold died in 1984 aged 88 and actress Daisy Ridley is his great niece. Michael Gambon played Arnold's role as Godfrey in the film. Michael is perhaps best known for his role as Albus Dumbledor in the Harry Potter film franchise, but has also appeared in films such as Amazing Grace, The Wings of a Dove and more.

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Private Joe Walker: James Beck and Daniel Mays

James Beck played Private Joe Walker – known as a 'black market spiv'. As well as Dad's Army, James had roles in TV shows such as Coronation Street and Sherlock Holmes. Actor Daniel Mays became Private Joe Walker for the recent film. Daniel is known for his role in TV shows such as Line of Duty, Code 404 and more.

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Private Frank Pike: Ian Lavender and Blake Harrison

Youngest of the bunch was Private Frank Pike, played by Ian Lavender. Ian remains the only living actor from the original cast. Since the show, Ian mostly focused on theatre, but also had a number of appearances in shows such as Eastenders, Coronation Street, and Keeping Up Appearances. The role of Private Pike was then played by Blake Harrison. Prior to the film, Blake was best known for playing Neil in hugely popular Channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners.

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