She's in the army now: Catherine Zeta-Jones joins cast of Dad's Army film

Oscar-winning actor will join Toby Jones and Bill Nighy in big-screen adaptation of classic BBC TV comedy

Catherine Zeta-Jones joins Dad's Army.
Enlisted … Catherine Zeta-Jones joins Dad’s Army. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Catherine Zeta-Jones has been recruited for the Dad’s Army film. She’ll play a glamorous reporter tasked with filing a story on the doughty men of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard in the forthcoming big-screen adaptation of the classic BBC comedy.

The Oscar-winning Welsh actor has joined a cast that already includes Toby Jones and Bill Nighy in the lead roles of pompous Captain Mainwaring and his sardonic second-in-command Sergeant Wilson, the roles made famous by Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier in Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s original TV show. Producers today revealed that Tom Courtenay will play Corporal Jones, with Michael Gambon as Godfrey, Blake Harrison (of The Inbetweeners) as Pike, Danny Mays as Walker and Bill Paterson as Fraser. Director Oliver Parker has also added Alison Steadman, Sarah Lancashire and Mark Gatiss to the movie in as-yet undisclosed roles.

The second world war-set tale will be shot entirely on location in Yorkshire, some distance from the original show’s fictional East Sussex location. A newly released synopsis reads as follows:

It is 1944 and World War II is reaching its climax. The Allies are poised to invade France and finally defeat the German army. But in Walmington-on-Sea, morale among the Home Guard is low. Their new mission then – to patrol the Dover army base – is a great chance to revive spirits and reputation, that is until glamorous journalist Rose Winters arrives to write about their exploits, setting the pulses racing and putting the local women on red alert. MI5 then discover a radio signal sent direct to Berlin from Walmington-on-Sea. There’s a spy on the loose! The outcome of the war is suddenly at stake, and it falls to our unlikely heroes to stand up and be counted.

Parker is best known for spy-spoof sequel Johnny English Reborn and 2007’s St Trinian’s remake. The film’s script is by Hamish McColl, who wrote Johnny English Reborn and Mr Bean’s Holiday. Creator Perry is on board as a producer, but recently told the BBC he was letting the new creative team “get on with it”.

The original Dad’s Army TV show, about a hapless Home Guard unit of men too old or unsuited for combat duty, ran for nine series on the BBC and is considered one of Britain’s classic sitcoms. A film adaptation was released in 1971, and the show placed fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain’s best sitcom in 2004.