1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 7 (UK)
19 x 40 minute episodes
Preston Front was a BBC comedy-drama about the lives of volunteer part-time soldiers in the Territorial Army in the small (fictional) town of Roker Bridge in Lancashire.
The main characters were rough diamond Hodge (Colin Buchanan) – who worked for Mrs Ruddock (Matyelock Gibbs) as a garden centre assistant – and his best friend since childhood, Eric (Paul Haigh) who was a bit of a loser.
Hodge and Eric joined the TA in search of adventure – whilst still trying to cope with women, work and commitment.
Eric’s trainee teacher girlfriend (and later, wife) Dawn was played by Caroline Catz.
Laura Delooze (Lucy Akhurst), a glamorous singer and waitress at a local Chinese restaurant owned by Peter Wang (Ozzie Yue) was also briefly Hodge’s girlfriend. As too was Mel Polson (Angela Lonsdale), the younger sister of his section commander in the TA.
Hodge had a one-night stand five years ago with older wealthy woman Jeanetta Scarry (Susan Wooldridge in series one and two, Carolyn Pickles thereafter) and now had a young daughter, Kirsty (Holly Grainger).
Serving in the TA with Hodge and Eric were intellectual history teacher ‘Spock’ (Stephen Tompkinson in series one and Alistair MacGowan thereafter); Spock’s sister Ally (Kate Gartside) who was unhappily married to a local solicitor called Fraser (Peter McEnery); platoon clown Lloydy (Adrian Hood), a farm labourer who became wealthy after inventing a successful TA-inspired board game called “Gurkha Tank Battle”; garage owner ‘Diesel’ (Tony Marshall); Pete Polson (David MacCreedy), the section commander and a former regular Army NCO who now managed a hotel leisure centre; and platoon commander Lieutenant Carl Rundle (Keiran Flynn), who worked as a junior hotel manager and was in love with Ally.
The first six episodes of the series – written by playwright Tim Firth – were originally titled All Quiet on the Preston Front. The shorter title was introduced from series two onwards.
Private David ‘Hodge’ Gadd
Private Wayne ‘Eric’ Disley
Private Dawn Lomax
Private Simon ‘Spock’ Matlock
Stephen Tompkinson (1)
Alistair McGowan (2)
Private Tony ‘Lloydy’ Lloyd
Private/Lance-Corporal Derek ‘Diesel’ Moyle
Corporal/Sergeant Pete Polson
Corporal Alison ‘Ally’ Minshull
Lieutenant Carl Rundle
Susan Wooldridge (1)
Carolyn Pickles (2)
Hodge’s Girlfriend | Ally’s Husband | Eric’s Job | Lloydy’s Fish | Diesel’s Garage | Kirsty’s Biscuit || Dawn’s Ball | Laura’s Mousse | Spock’s Leg | Polson’s Lilo | Diesel’s Out of Body Experience | Lloydy’s Ark || Hodge’s Driving Test | Eric’s Won Ton | Lloydy’s Housewarming | Spock’s Dilated Pupil | Polson’s Mess | Diesel’s Ostrich | Jeanetta’s Marijuana