The Paras

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The Paras
The Paras intro.jpg
Genre Documentary
Created by Glyn Worsnip
Written by Frank Hilton
Presented by Glyn Worsnip
Theme music composer Conn Bernard
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 7
Production
Producer(s) Bill Jones
Editor(s) Graham Dean
Camera setup Dave Gray
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Original airing November 1983
Written by Conn Bernard

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The Paras was a 1983 BBC TV documentary series about British Parachute Regiment recruits of 480 (Training) Platoon undertaking their basic training between January and June 1982.

The series aired on BBC1 in November and December 1983. It was later repeated in 1984, with an update on the platoon members' lives in the last episode.

Written and presented by Glyn Worsnip,[1] it was shot in the fly-on-the-wall style, giving the viewing public a unique insight to military life. The programme's timing could not have been better as it began filming just prior to the onset of hostilities of the 1982 Falklands War. The series was accompanied by a book of the same name written by the principal researcher Frank Hilton [2]

The series was accompanied by a score of military music written and arranged by Conn Bernard.

Some of those recruits passing out in 1982 went on to have long and distinguished careers including Dean Ward and Rod Stoner. In addition one of the platoon staff corporals, Al Slater was later killed in Northern Ireland whilst a member of the SAS. This incident and some of this involvement in the SAS were described in two of Andy McNab's books Immediate Action and Seven Troop.

Episodes[edit]

Episode Title Produced by Written by Original air date
1 "480 Platoon" Bill Jones Frank Hilton March 1983
The recruits of 480 (Training) Platoon form up at Browning Barracks, Aldershot and are introduced to army life.
2 "The Maroon Machine" Bill Jones Frank Hilton March 1983
Basic tactics and fitness training in the Aldershot area
3 "Basic Wales" Bill Jones Frank Hilton March 1983
Battle Camp at Sennybridge Training Area, Wales.
4 "'P' Company" Bill Jones Frank Hilton March 1983
Pre-Parachute (P company) selection in Aldershot.
5 "Wings" Bill Jones Frank Hilton April 1983
Basic Parachute Training at RAF Brize Norton.
6 "Ready For Anything" Bill Jones Frank Hilton April 1983
Advanced Tactics training.
7 "Down To Earth" Bill Jones Frank Hilton April 1983
The recruits are posted to Northern Ireland on operations. (The 1984 repeat included an extra 10 minutes update on the original recruits 2 years later)


Production credits[edit]

  • Written and presented – Glyn Worsnip
  • Camera – Dave Gray
  • Sound - Mervyn Broadway
  • Dubbing Editor – David Matthews
  • Dubbing Mixer – Ken Haimes
  • Title Music – Conn Bernard
  • Graphic Designer – William Blaik
  • Production Assistant – Caroline Savage
  • Research – Frank Hilton, Chris Wilkie
  • Film Editor – Graham Dean
  • Producer – Bill Jones
480 Platoon on P Company in April 1982.
480 Platoon on P company.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Independent - Glyn Worsnip
  2. ^ Hilton, Frank (1983). The Paras. BBC. ISBN 978-0-517-07197-7.