1 9 7 4 (UK)
3 x 60 minute episodes
When 18-year-old David Parker (Christopher Blake), with his grammar school background, joins the Army as a regular soldier, his hopes are high, and he has a commission in mind.
The trouble is that this is 1950, the rest of his intake at Catterick Camp are National Servicemen (who beat him badly for volunteering), and officer selection is often a matter of having been to the right school and coming from the right background.
Unfortunately, every character was a stereotype, and the author’s premise – that every public schoolboy was an intellectual moron and every Sandhurst trained officer a ridin’ and huntin’ addict, and both of them faintly homosexual – left Martin Jacobs and Jonathan David little chance to develop any sort of individual character, being treated as a pair of Tweedledee and Tweedledum puppets.
No more fortunate were Jon Glover and John F. Landry, whose non-commissioned officers, unable to accept that any recruit was really anxious to learn when shirking was so simple, had no existence outside the writer’s lampoon.
Meanwhile, our young hero David Parker was as unconvincing as the rest and – despite the sensitive underplaying of Christopher Blake – came across as an irritating prig whose comeuppance might not have been deserved but was certainly not deplored.
The three-part series from Yorkshire Television debuted on Sunday 13 January 1974.
Sgt Major Nobby Hale
John F. Landry
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