Soldier Soldier was a series my Family and I instantly took to when we first saw it in 1991.
My Father was a soldier in the British Army and at the time, we were living in Germany on a Military installation.
From the get go, Carlton Television seemed to get it right most of the time. There was the odd error when it came to some military jargon or procedure, but those brief moments did not detract from the overall quality of the program.
Comparing the series to my own experiences of Army life, I can say that Soldier Soldier was very true to life, not only for its military aspect, but from the family one too.
Life as a civilian following a serving member of the armed forces was not easy. You move every year or two, leaving your friends behind, although occasionally an entire unit would move, its civilians along with it.
As a result of the constant changes in their environment, “Army wifes” would often be quick to welcome new arrivals to their neighbourhood. A neighbourhood spirit prevailed wherever the civians were settled.
Soldier Soldier depicts this well, you get to see how the wifes of the main characters help each other in times of need, and ocassionaly plot against someone they despise. Not all too different from normal civilian life I suppose, but the overriding presence of the military could complicate matters, and often did, both in the series and in real life.
My father told me once that every squadron in every regiment of the Army has characters similar to those of Tucker and Garvey. Mischievous pranksters who are generally good soldiers, but prone to the odd brush with the MPs and/ or their Commanding Officer.
Soldier Soldier follows the Kings Fusiliers through trial and tribulations during their postings to Germany, Bosnia and beyond. Eventually this fictional regiment was almalgamated with another fictional regiment and was renamed the Kings Own Fusiliers. Again, the series held to its realism with this amalgamation, for at the time the series was running, a great deal of change was happening within the real British Army, including a lot of Regimental amalgamation.
Ultimately, the show fell victim to success, the success of the two Actors who played the series' main characters, Tucker and Garvey. Robson Green and Jerome Flyn found stardom after performing a rendition of Unchained Melody during an episode. With their rise to fame, the actors simultaneously left Soldier Soldier, taking its ratings with them for Soldier Soldier without Tucker or Garvey was like Disney World without Mickey Mouse.
In 1997 it was all over, the ratings were so low, Carlton Television axed the series.
Soldier Soldier had a good innings though, 7 series and 82 episodes. Some much finer examples of British TV never lasted so long.
If I had to sum the entire series up in one sentence, I'd say;
Soldier Soldier pretty much hits the nail on the head, depicting Army life from a Soldiers and a Family's point of view.