Walmington-on-Sea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Map of the fictional 'Walmington-on-Sea

Walmington-on-Sea is a fictional seaside resort that is the setting of Dad's Army, including the BBC Television sitcom, the BBC Radio 4 series and two feature films (1971 and 2016).

Walmington-on-Sea is on the south coast of England which, following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk during the Second World War, found itself on the front line against Hitler. It is in Sussex [1] and the nearest large town is Eastbourne, where Captain Mainwaring was educated at the local grammar school.

The series followed the adventures and misadventures of members of a fictional platoon of the Home Guard, a volunteer army formed from those ineligible for conscription by age, minor physical inability or occupation, to defend the United Kingdom from German invasion following the fall of France.

Amenities and filming locations[edit]

Thetford railway station stood in for the station at Walmington-on-Sea
The Guildhall at Thetford became Walmington-on Sea's Town Hall
Several episodes were filmed in Thetford's Nether Row
Filming of The Deadly Attachment took place on Mill Lane in Thetford
Thetford's 'Palace Cinema' (now a bingo hall) doubled as Walmington's 'Empire Cinema'

Over the nine television series, the action is set in various places in Walmington-on-Sea, the interiors of which were built in the television studios, while the exterior scenes were filmed at various Norfolk locations.[2] These included a pleasure pier (filmed in Great Yarmouth[3]) with a 20-foot (6m) wide gap blown in the middle to prevent it from being used as a landing stage by invading armed forces. The beach is protected with barbed wire and other defences including mines, pillboxes and tank traps.

Other locations, typical of a seaside town during the Second World War included a sweet shop, The Novelty Rock Emporium, at least two banks (the fictional Swallows Bank, which appeared in early episodes, and the real Martins Bank), the Marigold tea room, Anne's Pantry, the Dutch Oven, Corporal Jones's butcher's shop, Hodges' greengrocers, Frazer's undertakers, a cinema and numerous pubs including the Red Lion, which all suggest it was a reasonably sized place. There is also a Free Polish Club for Polish servicemen. In common with most real British towns, Walmington-on-Sea is given a church, Saint Aldhelm's, with a hall next door which is the setting for various community events in the episodes such as the Christmas pantomime and a place for the Sea Scouts to parade. It is also where the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon muster on parade nights.

In reality, many outdoor scenes were filmed at Thetford, an inland town in Norfolk, thus giving no clue as to the scriptwriters preferences.[2] The 1971 film moved location to Chalfont St Giles, even further from the coast. The 2016 film is filmed even more distantly in Yorkshire.

Thetford's Guildhall (today the home of the Dad's Army Museum) became Walmington-on-Sea's Town Hall. The Guildhall featured in the 1972 episode Time On My Hands, in which a German Luftwaffe pilot dangled from the clock tower when his parachute became caught in the clock's hands. The Guildhall was also used in the 1974 episode The Captain's Car. The distinctive flint cottages in Thetford's 'Nether Row' appeared in four episodes: Man Hunt, The Armoured Might of Lance Corporal Jones, The Big Parade and Time on My Hands. Mill Lane was used in The Deadly Attachment, while Thetford's real-life 'Palace Cinema' (now a bingo hall) doubled as Walmington-on-Sea's 'Empire Cinema' in two episodes – The Big Parade (1970) and A Soldier's Farewell (1972).[2]

Thetford railway station was used for exterior shots of Walmington-on-Sea railway station, while the platforms of Weybourne Station on the preserved North Norfolk Railway (a popular heritage steam railway) stood in for the platforms at Walmington-on-Sea station in the episode The Royal Train.

Residents[edit]

Character Job
George Mainwaring Bank Manager
Elizabeth Mainwaring
Arthur Wilson Bank Chief Clerk
Jack Jones Butcher
Mildred Fox
Frank Pike Bank Clerk
Mavis Pike
Joe Walker Spiv
James Frazer Undertaker
Charles Godfrey Retired
Dolly Godfrey
Cissy Godfrey
Mr Sponge Sheep Farmer
William Hodges Greengrocer
Reverend Timothy Farthing Vicar
Maurice Yeatman Verger
Beryl Yeatman
Mr Gordon Town Clerk
Miss Fortescue Proprietor of the Marigold Tearooms
Doreen Cinema Worker/Restaurant Worker
Edith Parish Cinema Usherette
Mr Cheeseright Cinema Manager
Janet King Bank Clerk
Sidney Blewitt Retired
Mr Jones Museum Caretaker
Mr. Billings
Bracewell
Raymond Butcher Assistant
Miss Doris Mortimer
Mrs. Yeatman
Desmond
Cheeseman Journalist
Elgood
Hastings
Miss Meadows
Forkus
Day
Eccles
Woods
Taylor
Mrs Peters

Pubs[edit]

  • The Red Lion
  • The Six Bells
  • The Anchor
  • The Black Lion
  • The Dog & Partridge
  • The King's Head
  • The Feathers
  • The Fox
  • The Hare & Hounds
  • The Horse & Groom
  • The Horse & Hounds
  • The Fox & Pheasant
  • The Goat & Compasses
  • The Marquis of Granby

Tea shops[edit]

  • The Marigold Tea Rooms
  • Anne's Pantry
  • The Dutch Oven

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC Books, Dad's Army: The Defence of a Front Line English Village, 1989, p.5.
  2. ^ a b c Dad's Army locations on Literary Norfolk
  3. ^ 'Dad's Army invade Great Yarmouth' BBC Norfolk website

External links[edit]