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Do tell ‘em! How Dad’s Army Museum has given Thetford a valuable tourism boost as it opens for its 10th year

PUBLISHED: 21:12 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 21:12 18 March 2017

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. 
Captain Mainwaring (Mick Whitman) is ready to welcome visitors to the museum. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Captain Mainwaring (Mick Whitman) is ready to welcome visitors to the museum. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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For fans, it is a fitting tribute to one of the nation’s best-loved television shows.

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. 
Museum visitors Clint and Carol Stevenson.
 Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Museum visitors Clint and Carol Stevenson. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

But as it opened its doors for its 10th season this weekend, the Dad’s Army Museum has not only kept the memory of the comedy classic alive but provided a valuable tourism boost to the Norfolk town which is the show’s natural home.

With the BBC hit largely filmed in the Thetford area during the 1960s and 70s, the town seemed a perfect location for a museum when it first opened in 2007.

MORE: About Dad’s Army and its links to Thetford

Stuart Wright, chairman of the museum in Cage Lane, Thetford, said at first organisers thought they would mainly get interest from the older generation who remember the show from its original broadcasts.

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Museum visitor Philip Sharpe in period costume with his Austin 7. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Museum visitor Philip Sharpe in period costume with his Austin 7. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

But as the programme is often repeated on BBC Two, Mr Wright said: “We now have new generations of fans coming through.

“We suddenly realised we would have something here that would bring visitors to Thetford.”

The show gained even more popularity when a modern film version of the show starring Billy Nighy and Toby Jones was launched last year.

It provided an extra boost to the museum, which was featured on The One Show and later went on to welcome 10,000 visitors last year.

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season.
 Christine Sanderson in the tearoom. 

Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Christine Sanderson in the tearoom. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“We have got worldwide appeal,” added Mr Wright, who has seen visitors travel from across oceans to Thetford just to see the museum.

“It seems to be pulling people in and it has been lovely to give Thetford a shot in the arm for its tourism.

“Thetford has got so much to offer. It’s the Dad’s Army hook that brings them into the town. Once we’ve got them here, they realise the wealth of heritage we have in the town.”

Volunteers are hoping to attract a record number of visitors this year, with a new exhibition in tribute to writer Jimmy Perry – who supported the museum before he died in 2016.

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. 
Rita Aho and Denise Jones in the tearoom.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Rita Aho and Denise Jones in the tearoom. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

MORE: What’s in the Dad’s Army Museum in 2017

The museum’s organisers are planning to hold events to mark the 10th anniversary later this year, including a 1940s dance. It is also looking at holding Dad’s Army-themed breaks at the town’s Thomas Paine Hotel.

For more information about the museum, email dadsarmythetford@googlemail.com

The Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season.
 Museum volunteers are ready to welcolme visitors to the Norfolk based attraction.

 Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe Dad's Army Museum in Thetford is now open for the 2017 season. Museum volunteers are ready to welcolme visitors to the Norfolk based attraction. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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