Follow TV Tropes


Series / Gary Tank Commander

Go To

An Armed Farces sitcom featuring Corporal Gary Mclintoch, of the 104th Armoured Regiment, British Army. Made by BBC Scotland, it follows the mishaps of Gary, his three soldier pals, his girlfriend and the other members of the unit. The main plot of each episode is broken up with documentary style interview spots as Gary gives his opinion on issues raised during that episode, and brief video clips of shenanigans taken during Gary's overseas deployments.


The show contains examples of:

  • Armed Farces: The peacetime variety, although short videoclips show Gary and pals goofing off during deployments.
  • Bottle Episode: The episode 'Stagging On' takes place almost entirely at the front gate of the barracks, as Gary and Charlie are on 'Stag' (sentry duty).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The main characters are goofballs but they occasionally get to demonstrate that they're good soldiers.
  • Camp Straight. Gary comes across as this through the series. He has a girlfriend but never does anything romantic or intimate with her. Gary's hair is frosted, his tan is fake and he can obsess over clothing. There's no effect on plot or other characters; it's just how Greg Mchugh plays Gary.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Captain Fanshaw and Sergeant Thomson.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Sergeant Thomson gets drunk at a regimental party, supposedly due to this. Subverted, in while the main characters are all exhausted the next day, Thompson is well enough to get up bright and early for a lovely game of "chemical attack!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Country Matters: A joke about football team names including body parts ends with this.
  • The Ditz: Julie. Gary's ideas of politics are a bit simple too.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Gary and the boys poke fun at the cook in the soldiers mess, pretending to be pretentious and calling him 'Chef'.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Gary seems to think he is this.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Zig-zagged, as the show was produced for a Scottish audience but proved to be popular with the rest of the UK. The Scottish characters' pepper Scots into their conversations (particularly "ken", which means "know" or "understand").
  • Mistaken for Profound: Gary debates university students by drawing analogies from his father's recipes.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It's not until episode 5 of the first season that Gary commands anything resembling a tank. (See Tanks, but No Tanks)
  • Running Gag:
    • Gary answers his phone with names of businesses; usually he has to explain that it's really him.
    • Captain Fanshaw can never seem to finish what he's trying to say, usually passing the task onto Sergeant Thomson and running off.
  • Tank Goodness: The name of an episode in the second season, in which the boys temporarily mislay a tank.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: The 'tank' is an Abbot self-propelled gun.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sergeant Thomson in the first series behaved in essence as a Straight Man whose biggest flaw was a tendency to brown-nose the Captain, but otherwise he behaved much as a professional soldier who had to command Gary's section would; when he did something genuinely mean, it tended to be because Gary had mucked things up for him first. In the second series, he is a petty tyrant who simply enjoys being mean. A possible in-universe explanation is that the chains of commanding Gary and his men simply broke him.
  • Truth in Television: Although the show appears to be Mildly Military, soldiers definitely do get up to mischief and take the mickey out of each other in some of the ways shown. Also, most supporting characters who are military are shown to be much more professional than the main cast.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: Happens to Gary in 'The Great Debate'.
  • Verbal Tic: The Scottish frequently say "ken" ("know" or "understand" in Scots) when they want to get a point across.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: