YORK company Pick Me Up Theatre are marking the 50th anniversary of Dad’s Army by re-creating memorable moments from the BBC sitcom.

From tomorrow until September 29, the John Cooper Studio at 41 Monkgate in York will be transformed into Walmington-on-Sea Church Hall and filled with all the favourite characters from Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s scripts.

Robert Readman’s cast will be led by Mark Hird as pompous Captain Mainwaring and Rory Mulvihill as charming, “would you mind awfully” second-in-command Sergeant Wilson. Mick Liversidge will be Lance Corporal “Don’t Panic!” Jones; Adam Sowter, Private “Stupid Boy” Pike and Bill Laverick, Private “We’re Doomed” Frazer.

Andrew Roberts takes the role of black-market spiv Private Walker; Harry Revell will be mild-mannered Private Godfrey; Ian Giles, Chief Warden Hodges; Sandy Nicholson, Mrs Gray, and BBC Radio York presenter Neil Foster, both the U-Boat Captain and the Vicar.

Musical director Sam Johnson and singers Emma Dickinson, Kirsty Hughes, Glynn Mills, Adam Price and Natalie Walker will provide live accompaniment to Pick Me Up’s re-creation of three classic episodes, performing period songs Croft and Perry chose for scene transitions.

In The Deadly Attachment – the one best known for Mainwaring’s immortal line “Don’t tell him, Pike!” – the Home Guard platoon are ordered to guard the crew of a captured German U-boat in the episode.

In Mum’s Army, Captain Mainwaring allows women to join the platoon and falls for one of the new recruits. In The Godiva Affair, the platoon must rehearse a Morris Dance to perform in a fund-raising carnival parade that will include a ride-past by Lady Godiva.

When Croft and Perry chose these episodes to form the backbone of a Dad’s Amy stage show, they also added a “lost” sketch from Christmas Night With The Stars, televised on Christmas Day in 1970 and performed again by the original cast at the Royal Variety Performance in 1975.

Hence Pick Me Up’s show will feature The Floral Dance, wherein the platoon rehearses a traditional Cornish dance along with wardens and some of the ladies of Walmington-on-Sea. “No video of the sketch remains, so this is a rare chance to see a unique piece of Dad’s Army history,” says director Readman.

York Press:

Dad's Army birthday party celebrations at Dunnington Reading Rooms: back row, Mark Hird as Captain Mainwaring, left; Katherine Hunt, dressed as a landgirl; Sarah-Jane Mills as the Matron and birthday boy Alexander Mills as Captain Mainwaring II.  Back row: Adam Price as Private Sponge, Rory Mulvihill as Sergeant Wilson and Andrew Mills as Chief Warden Hodges

Mark Hird fronts a company with a daunting task of playing characters loved by millions over the past 50 years. “I remember the first screenings of these Dad’s Army episodes in the early 1970s. It was the days of three channels and one TV in the house, so families sat down to watch it together and everyone at school would talk about it the next day,” he says.

“We’d recite all the best lines and catchphrases – and we’d even line up in the playground and re-enact scenes from the previous night’s episode. I actually took the part of Captain Mainwaring in these playground re-enactments. I could never have imagined I’d end up getting to play him as a grown-up in the impossibly far-off 21st century!”

When Robert Readman first asked Mark to play Mainwaring, he was initially “very reluctant”. “Arthur Lowe is one of my acting heroes and it’s daunting, not to say, impossible to try to fill his shoes. His Captain Mainwaring is one of the greatest comic creations of all times,” he says.

“He could move from pomposity to curiosity to bewilderment to exasperation in just a few seconds with just a few subtle facial and physical movements. And he created a character who, despite his outward bluster and ridiculousness, was lovable and actually quite vulnerable.

“Through rehearsals we’ve found the best thing is just to take a few of the recognisable tics and mannerisms of these well-known characters and rely on the terrific scripts of David Croft and Jimmy Perry to work their magic. And the stage show is very much a celebration of Dad’s Army, rather than an attempt to replicate the TV shows.”

Look out too for a musical contribution from Mark and others. “Rory Mulvihill, Mick Liversidge and me get the chance to perform Noel Coward’s Could You Please Oblige Us With A Bren Gun, which Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn performed in a BBC tribute to Coward in 1968.” he reveals.

Mark and Rory have already donned their Dad’s Army uniforms to surprise a Dad’s Army superfan Alexander Mills at his birthday party at Dunnington Reading Rooms on September 8.

“We took Adam Price, who played Private Sponge, along with us to run through a mock drill with the children and they had an absolute hoot," he says. It’s wonderful to find a whole new generation of fans watching this classic show 50 years on, and it’s going to be great to see the range of ages in the audiences at 41 Monkgate.”

Tickets for Pick Me Up Theatre’s Dad’s Army 50th Anniversary show are on sale at £16, concessions £14, on 01904 623568 or at pickmeuptheatre.com. Evening performances start at 7.30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2.30pm.