Bluestone 42

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Bluestone 42
Bluestone 42 Title.jpg
Written byRichard Hurst
James Cary
Directed by
ComposerVince Pope
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series3
No. of episodes21 (list of episodes)
Executive producerStephen McCrum
ProducerMichelle Farr
Production locationSouth Africa
EditorNigel Williams
Running time30 minutes
Production companyBBC Productions
Original networkBBC Three
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release5 March 2013 (2013-03-05) –
13 April 2015 (2015-04-13)

Bluestone 42 is a British sitcom about a British bomb disposal detachment in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick, first broadcast on 5 March 2013 on BBC Three. The third and final series began on 9 March 2015 and ended on 13 April 2015. In July 2015, writers Richard Hurst and James Cary confirmed the show would not return for a fourth series, citing BBC Three's impending move to online and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as contributing towards the show having run its course.[1]

While the show takes place in Helmand Province, the series was filmed in South Africa.


A mix of black comedy and action, Bluestone 42 focused on the camaraderie between soldiers, situational comedy, bureaucracy, conflicts of interests and relationships, and is contrasted with the deadly situations the soldiers are required to defuse. The show's name refers to the unit's call sign and is rendered verbally as "Bluestone Four-Two".

Cast and characters[edit]


Character Actor
1 2 3
Captain Nick Medhurst Oliver Chris Main Recurring
Corporal Christian "Millsy" Mills Gary Carr Main
Private Kevin "Mac" McDowell Jamie Quinn Main
Private Euan "Rocket" Armstrong Scott Hoatson Main
Corporal Lynda Bird Katie Lyons Main
Lance Corporal Simon "Skip" Lansley Stephen Wight Main
Lieutenant Colonel Philip Smith Tony Gardner Main
Padre Major Mary Greenstock Kelly Adams Main
Faruq Harrif Keeno Lee Hector Main
Corporal Gordon "Towerblock" House Matthew Lewis Main
Captain Ellen Best Laura Aikman Main


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
185 March 2013 (2013-03-05)23 April 2013 (2013-04-23)
Christmas Special26 December 2013 (2013-12-26)
2627 February 2014 (2014-02-27)27 March 2014 (2014-03-27)
369 March 2015 (2015-03-09)13 April 2015 (2015-04-13)

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Episode 1"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary5 March 2013 (2013-03-05)
A visit to Bluestone 42’s base from a CIA operative ends in disaster when he is killed by the Taliban. None of the unit show any signs of grief towards the deceased Colonel Carter, while Captain Nick Medhurst pretends to have felt nothing when Carter died as a way to seduce Mary, the new Padre, whom he takes an immediate liking to, but she quickly knocks him back.
22"Episode 2"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary12 March 2013 (2013-03-12)
Nick is desperate to find some decent food to use in an attempt to seduce Mary, whilst Simon gets into trouble on roadside ops.
33"Episode 3"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary19 March 2013 (2013-03-19)
After Bluestone 42 join a midnight raid on a bomb factory and rescue a kidnapped Danish aid worker (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), they find more than they bargained for. Simon tries to get a book deal for his memoir.
44"Episode 4"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary26 March 2013 (2013-03-26)
Nick tries to prove he is not superstitious to the padre, while Simon tries to earn respect by joining in dangerous homemade games with Mac and Rocket.
55"Episode 5"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary2 April 2013 (2013-04-02)
Mary reveals a secret about her past before she became a padre and Nick tries to take full advantage. Bird is offered a promotion.
66"Episode 6"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary9 April 2013 (2013-04-09)
Nick and Simon help each other to learn to dance, whilst the arrival of veterinary corps Captain Parikh reveals Bird as a terrible flirt.
77"Episode 7"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary16 April 2013 (2013-04-16)
A mortar attack on the patrol base sends Bluestone 42 diving for cover.
88"Episode 8"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary23 April 2013 (2013-04-23)
Nick faces a gruelling challenge with a booby-trapped car bomb, while Simon finally stands up to his fiancée.

Christmas Special (2013)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
91"Christmas Special"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary26 December 2013 (2013-12-26)
This episode was originally due to air on 23 December but was postponed after a British soldier was killed during active service in Afghanistan.

Series 2 (2014)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
101"Episode 1"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary27 February 2014 (2014-02-27)
Mac tries to get the camp's "filthiest bastard" award by lying about how he contracted crabs. Nick tries to bluff his way through a Glock Weapons Handling Test
112"Episode 2"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary6 March 2014 (2014-03-06)
A blast from the past knocks Nick off his game. Bird tries to teach Mary a lesson that the padre is out of touch with the troops.
123"Episode 3"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary13 March 2014 (2014-03-13)
Nick and the Lt Colonel find themselves in a battle of wills. Rocket gets a pet rat.
134"Episode 4"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary20 March 2014 (2014-03-20)
The team gets a visit from a government minister, to whom Mary unexpectedly takes a shine.
145"Episode 5"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary27 March 2014 (2014-03-27)
Bird hatches a plan to stop Nick and Mary going on about each other once and for all.
156"Episode 6"Iain B MacDonaldRichard Hurst & James Cary3 April 2014 (2014-04-03)
Simon's lack of trust in Mac and Rocket comes back to bite him.

Series 3 (2015)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
161"Episode 1"David SantRichard Hurst & James Cary9 March 2015 (2015-03-09)
We rejoin the Bluestone 42 team after the IED explosion has hit their Mastiff. Have they all survived?
172"Episode 2"David SantRichard Hurst & James Cary16 March 2015 (2015-03-16)
The team are called out to a major operation, where events take a worrying turn when ATO, Captain Nick Medhurst fails to spot a secondary trigger on an IED whilst saving an infantryman snagged on a tripwire. Nick is medevacked to Bastion Hospital in critical condition while the rest of the team are stood down and return to their FOB to await news of Nick. Simon makes a life-changing discovery, and despite devastating news from the medical unit, the Colonel insists that the pub quiz night must go on and 'accidentally' reveals a clue to the location of the question sheet to the unit, thus starting a treasure hunt around the base (setup by the Colonel to take their minds off of Nick's condition).
183"Episode 3"David SantRichard Hurst & James Cary23 March 2015 (2015-03-23)
Bluestone 42 meets their new ATO Captain Ellen Best, who has replaced Nick for the remainder of the unit's tour. A certain new arrival on base attracts Simon's attention. Towerblock is put through his paces after challenging Rocket to a battle of the fittest
194"Episode 4"David SantJames Cary & Mark Evans30 March 2015 (2015-03-30)
The team incur a major Taliban attack on their base while Simon suspects a member of the Afghan National Army who are there for bomb diffusion training. The attack distracts Ellen and Bird from their bickering and Towerblock from a difficult phone call to his wife. The team work together, alongside Simon's suspected ANA soldier, to foil a Green on Blue attack when another member of the ANA group lets four insurgents into the base. Rocket gets addicted to service issue orange-flavoured powdered squash during several interrupted dares.
205"Episode 5"David SantRichard Hurst & Mark Evans6 April 2015 (2015-04-06)
Ellen has to learn to bend the rules, Mac and Rocket do gladiatorial combat and Bird sets Simon up for a fall.
216"Episode 6"David SantRichard Hurst & James Cary13 April 2015 (2015-04-13)
As the team prepare to leave Afghanistan for good, Simon receives some devastating news.


Bluestone 42 has been met with positive reviews. In The Independent, James Rampton described the show as "The Hurt Locker meets Miranda" and said that it "strikes the right balance between edgy and entertaining".[2] Rich Johnston of compared the show favourably to M*A*S*H.[3] Corporal Daniel Whittingham, a British Army bomb disposal expert, said the series' black humour was "spot-on" and its action scenes "pretty accurate".[4]



Series Release name No. of discs UK release date (region 2) Notes
1 Bluestone 42 – Series 1 2 29 April 2013 Out-takes
Mac and Rocket: Uncut
2 Bluestone 42 – Series 2 1 23 March 2015
3 Bluestone 42 – Series 3 1 16 November 2015
4 Bluestone 42 – The Complete Collection 4 The Complete Series contains 21 Episodes including Out-takes and Mac and Rocket: Uncut


In December 2014 Series 1 was broadcast on the Australian ABC network, and online player ABC iView.[5]


  1. ^ Bluestone 42 ends – News – British Comedy Guide
  2. ^ Rampton, James (5 March 2013). "Bluestone 42: The Hurt Locker meets Miranda in military comedy set in Afghanistan". The Independent. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  3. ^ Johnston, Rich (28 March 2013). "Bluestone 42 – A New M*A*S*H?". Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  4. ^ Laura Barnett (16 March 2014). "A bomb disposal expert on the comedy Bluestone 42". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  5. ^ Bluestone 42 ABC Programmes. Retrieved 9 February 2015

External links[edit]