Tributes have been paid to Dad’s Army star Frank Williams following his death at the age of 90. The actor was best known for his role as Reverend Timothy Farthing in the BBC sitcom. The news of his death was announced on Facebook on Sunday, with a message saying: “So sorry to say that our beloved friend, colleague and actor Frank Williams passed away this morning. “He was almost 91, and we are grateful for all the years of joy, laughter and happiness he brought to so many. Thank you Frank! x”. Williams, who appeared in Dad’s Army for nearly a decade, reprised his role as the vicar of Walmington-on-Sea in the 2016 film, which also starred Bill Nighy and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Speaking at the time, he said: “It takes me back to a very happy time in my life when I was doing Dad’s Army originally and, as my scenes are in the church hall, it was very much like coming home again.” Dad’s Army ran for 80 episodes over nine years from 1968 to 1977, and spawned a 1971 feature film as well as a radio series and a stage show. The sitcom, based in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, was created by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. The actor is reported to have thought his Dad’s Army stint would not last long. He was quoted by The Times as saying: “I’d worked with both the writers, Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who also produced the show, before, so I didn’t have to audition. It was a nice job, but I thought it was only ever going to be a one-off engagement.”
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Williams’ other TV roles included starring in You Rang, M’Lord?, Hi-De-Hi!, What’s Up Nurse! and the 1980 film Oh! Heavenly Dog, which starred Omar Sharif, Chevy Chase and Jane Seymour. Born in Edgware, north London, in 1931, Williams went on to become a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and served three terms as a representative of the diocese of London. He told Bournemouth’s Daily Echo newspaper in 2014: “I can remember one occasion when I was voting and went through the laity door and one of the tellers stopped me and asked if I was going through the right one!” Fans remembered Williams with tributes on social media, with one tweeting: “Oh, this is sad news. I was only watching an episode of You Rang, M’Lord? at the weekend and admiring his perfect comic timing and mischievous delivery. An underrated fellow I feel.”
A tweet from an account named Dad’s Army Fans said: “So very sorry to hear that dear Frank Williams passed away earlier today (Sunday 26th June) we had been lucky enough to get to know Frank over the last 17 years. RIP #FrankWilliams Actor (2 July 1931 – 26 June 2022) Dad’s Army’s Vicar who bought happiness and laughter to many.”