June 10 on UK TV: ‘Soldier Soldier’

Soldier_Soldier-19911991: 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.

Created by Lucy Gannon, produced by Central Television and broadcast on the ITV network, it ran for a total of seven series and 82 episodes from 10 June 1991 to 9 December 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 one another due to downsizing of the army. Within the world of Soldier Soldier, the King’s Fusiliers are 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 TV-UK-06-10-1991over 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 4th series that propelled them to stardom, giving them several number one songs and a best selling album. At the end of the fifth series in 1995, both actors left the show. After a decline in viewing figures (following their departure) 1997 saw the decision to end the drama after seven series.

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

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