Soldier Soldier

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Soldier Soldier
Soldier soldier.jpg
Genre Military drama
Starring Robson Green
Jerome Flynn
plus others (see below)
Opening theme "Soldier Soldier"
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 82
Production
Running time 50 minutes
Production company(s) Central Independent Television
Distributor ITV Studios
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3
Audio format Stereo
Original release 10 June 1991 (1991-06-10) – 9 December 1997 (1997-12-09)

Soldier Soldier is a British television drama series. The title comes from a traditional song of the same name - "Soldier, soldier will you marry me, with your musket, fife and drum?" - an instrumental version of which was used as its theme music.

Produced by Central Television and broadcast on the ITV network, it ran for a total of seven series and 82 episodes from 1991 to 1997. It featured the daily lives of a group of soldiers in 'B' Company, 1st Battalion The King's Fusiliers, a fictional British Army infantry regiment loosely based on the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Set in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, it is a dramatisation of army life in the early to mid-1990s, when the British Army was undergoing significant change. This is perhaps best demonstrated during the third series, around 1994, when a significant number of real regiments were forced into amalgamations with each other due to downsizing of the army. In the world of Soldier Soldier, the King's Fusiliers are also forced to amalgamate with the Cumbrian Regiment, another fictional regiment, becoming the King's Own Fusiliers. At the time Soldier Soldier was broadcast, the fatality rate was low with most casualties due to training accidents and suicides. The military as a whole was assigned to performing more peacekeeping missions than actually doing any fighting. As a consequence, the show served well to portray the army, despite the domestic problems that could occur, in a fairly good light.

Although many well known and not so well known actors appeared in Soldier Soldier over the period it was broadcast, perhaps the best known are Robson Green and Jerome Flynn, who portrayed Fusilier Dave Tucker and Sergeant Paddy Garvey respectively. It was their performance of "Unchained Melody" in an episode of the series that propelled them to stardom, giving them several number one songs and a best selling album. Both actors left the series in 1995, following which viewing figures began to decline, leading to the series being cancelled in 1997.

TV presenter Chris Kelly wrote and produced some episodes of the series.[1]

Regular cast[edit]

Military personnel[edit]

Officers

Warrant Officers

  • Sean Baker as Company Sergeant Major Chick Henwood (Series 1)
  • Rob Spendlove as Company Sergeant Major (later Regimental Sergeant Major then Lieutenant) Michael Stubbs (Series 3-5)
  • Conor Mullen as Company Sergeant Major Alan Fitzpatrick (Series 7)

Non Commissioned Officers (NCO's)

Fusilier's *

  • Robson Green as Fusilier (later briefly Lance Corporal) David "Dave" Tucker (Series 1-5)
  • Winston Crooke as Fusilier Joe Meakin (Series 1)
  • Mo Sesay as Fusilier Michael "Midnight" Rawlings (Series 2-3)
  • Akim Mogaji as Fusilier Luke Roberts (Series 3)
  • David Groves as Fusilier Joe Farrell (Series 4-6)
  • Paterson Joseph as Fusilier Eddie Nelson (Series 4)
  • Simon Sherlock as Fusilier Mel Briggs (Series 5-6)
  • Danny Cunningham as Fusilier Andy Butcher (Series 5-7)
  • Thomas Craig as Fusilier Jacko Barton (Series 7)
  • Chris Gascoyne as Fusilier Tony Rossi (Series 7)



Attached Arms

*Lucy Cohu as Major Jessica BaileyAGC (Series 7)
  • Richard Hampton as Reverend Simon Armstrong CF RAChD (Series 1-2)
  • Lesley Vickerage as Second Lieutenant (later Lieutenant and then Captain) Kate Butler (later Voce) AGC (Series 2-4)
  • Sophie Dix as Captain Sadie Williams RAMC (Series 5)
  • Biddy Hodson as Second Lieutenant Samantha Sheridan AGC (Series 6)
  • Fiona Bell as Sergeant Angela McCleod AGC (Series 6-7)
  • Holly Aird as Corporal (later Sergeant) Nancy Thorpe (later Garvey, then Thorpe, then Garvey) RMP (Series 1-3, 5)
  • Kate O'Malley as Private Stacey Grey (later Butcher) RLC (Series 6-7)

Civilians[edit]

Episodes[edit]

King's Own Fusiliers[edit]

The King's Own Fusiliers
King'sfusiliers.JPG
Cap badge of the King's Own Fusiliers
Active 1993-
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Air Assault Infantry
(at end of series)
Size One battalion
Part of King's Division
Garrison/HQ 1st Battalion - Aldershot
(at end of series)
Motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Shamed Be He Who Thinks Ill Of It)
Insignia
Hackle Blue over White
From King's Fusiliers

The King's Own Fusiliers is the infantry regiment portrayed in the series. Like all fusilier regiments, the King's Own Fusiliers wears a hackle in its head-dress; this is coloured dark blue over white. Initially, the regiment was called the "King's Fusiliers"; however in the third season of Soldier Soldier, which took place during the Options for Change military reforms, the King's Fusiliers was forced to amalgamate with another regiment, "The Cumbrians (Duke of Rutland's Own)"; although attempts were made by the Cumbrians to keep the new regiment as an ordinary infantry regiment, rather than a fusilier regiment, the regimental commander of the King's Fusiliers found in his research that, at some point during their history, the Cumbrians had served as fusiliers. As a result, the new regiment was named the "King's Own Fusiliers".

The cap badge of the King's Own Fusiliers features the lion surmounting the crown, which is the recognised symbol of the British Army, within the band of the Order of the Garter. Surmounting the garter band is the traditional flame that indicates a fusilier regiment. (Note - in Crush (Red Cap episode 1.2), the Royal Cambrian Fusiliers wore the same cap badge and hackle as the King's Own Fusiliers).

Regiment[edit]

Role[edit]

As an ordinary infantry battalion, the King's Fusiliers/King's Own Fusiliers was in the arms plot rotation, and thus participated in a number of different roles:

During its time in Windsor, in addition to other duties, the King's Own Fusiliers provided the guard at Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.

Recruiting area[edit]

As the King's Own Fusiliers has no geographical location in its name, it can only be speculated what recruiting area it represents. However, using Options for Change as a marker, it would be reasonable to assume that the regiment is from somewhere in the north of England, given that it is amalgamated with a regiment from Cumbria. In addition, the regiment's collar dogs are in the form of a stylised rose, suggesting the Red Rose of Lancashire. This suggests that the regiment is part of the King's Division[original research?]. Despite this, the senior officers discuss the possibility of being amalgamated with other regiments from the Midlands.

During Series 1, the possibility of merging or disbanding regiments is discussed, and at that point, the Cumbrians and the Rutlands are expected to be amalgamated to form the Northern Regiment.

Commanding officers[edit]

  • 1st Battalion, King's Fusiliers
    • Lt Colonel D. Fortune (1991–1992) Miles Anderson (Series 1 & 2) A mild mannered man who is none the less a firm disciplinarian. Fortune is a widower who first wife died of cancer. He meets and later marries a journalist he leaves the Army after regiment is merged at the end of series 2.
    • Lt Colonel N. Hammond (1992–1993) Robert Gwilliem (Series 3) A keen and ambitious man who takes command after the merger with The Cumbrians. A no nonsense man who makes his mark by having LCpl Tucker demoted for bring the regiment into disrepute. After taking the regiment to Bosnia he hands over control to Lt Col Jennings.
  • 1st Battalion, King's Own Fusiliers
    • Lt Colonel N. Hammond (1993–1994)
    • Lt Colonel I. Jennings (1994–1995) John Bowe (Series 4) Jennings assumes command from Hammond on the regiments return from Bosnia. His first task being the presentation of the UN Medals. The major assignment being the regiments relocation from Munster in Germany to Windsor. Also the Regiment is assigned to Public Duties Guarding locations such as Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London.
    • Lt Colonel P. Philips (1995–1996)
    • Lt Colonel M. Eastwood (1996–1997)
    • Lt Colonel P. Drysdale (1997-)

Fictional regiments featured in Soldier Soldier[edit]

  • The King's Fusiliers (later the King's Own Fusiliers)
  • The Cumbrians (Duke of Rutland's Own) - amalgamates with the King's Fusiliers
  • The Malvern Regiment - exercises with the King's Fusiliers during their time in Germany

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]