What happened to Private Joe Walker in Dads Army?

What happened to Private Joe Walker in Dads Army?

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Dad’s Army continues to have a loyal following to this day, showing the legacy of the series. The BBC comedy is now considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, still pulling in new fans today. All the characters were beloved, but Private Joe Walker (played by James Beck) was always a fan-favourite. Yet, the character is absent from the latter half of the show – what happened to him?

What happened to Private Joe Walker?

Few shows have left quite the same mark in the history of comedy as Dad’s Army.

The show has enjoyed generations of fans, with the story of a rag-tag team of World War II Home Guard soldiers proving to be a timeless hit.

The series followed this group as they prepared for the, seemingly, inevitable Nazi invasion on British soil.

In reality, most of the Home Guard was made up of men that were not eligible for the front line, but some soldiers were also discharged and forced to join the British service.

Private Joe Walker was one of them, as he was supposedly allergic to corned beef fritters, which were the only rations available to men on the front line.

He was known for his sarcasm, cheek and witty interruptions, consistently irritating Captain Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe).

However, he was also known for his good nature and loyal spirit, alongside his knack for black market dealings.

Due to his “business connections”, he managed to conjure up any manner of items, rations, or other provisions the team desired. 

He was one of the main characters in the show and featured heavily throughout the bulk of the series.

Starring in the first six seasons, he vanished from the show ahead of season seven in 1973.

Sadly, star James Beck passed away after filming on season six wrapped, leading to the show being forced to explain away his absence.

Beck was diagnosed with pancreatitis and tragically died just three weeks later.

Following his death, his central role in the series threw season seven into doubt, with the showrunner considering ending Dad’s Army as a result.

In the Channel 5 documentary The Secret Lives of Dad’s Army, it was revealed that the show almost came to an end.

During the documentary, Michael Knowles who played various characters in the show revealed the reaction to his death.

“I knew him quite well actually, it was very, very sad when he went.

“He was far too young.” His death also put “the future of the series in doubt”.

Private Pike actor Ian Lavender added: “There were sad times along the way, the saddest obviously was the death of Jimmy.

“And we didn’t think we’d get over it. We were very unsure about doing the next series without him.”

While the show tried to replace Joe Walker with other characters after his death, no one else endured the same way.

Dad’s Army continued until 1977, bringing the series to a final end.

Dad’s Army is available to watch on Britbox. The 2016 Dad’s Army film is available to watch on Netflix.

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