Soldier Soldier is a British television drama series. it was titled after an old traditional song of the same name - Soldier, soldier will you marry me, with your musket, fife and drum? This was used as its theme music.
Broadcast on the ITV network, it ran for a total of seven series and 82 episodes from 1991 to 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 British 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 each other due to downsizing of the army. the show reflected this when the King's Fusiliers were 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.
Tropes paraded for inspection in this show include - wait for it, you horrible idle little trope! - these.
- A Father to His Men:
- Dave states he looks on Colonel Fortune as a father figure, as he has no contact with his real father. Lieutenant Pasco thinks he is trying to suck up in saying this, however Dave really does seem very fond of Fortune.
- Major Cadman, for all his complaining, tells a nurse he considers Dave family when Dave is sick with blood poisoning.
- Artistic License – Military: Genuine army units could not be used or identified in this series, so wholly fictional ones, with plausible back stories, were invented.
- Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: This is Truth in Television for the British Army.
- Colonel Badass:
- Lieutenant Colonel Dan Fortune, a deceptively mild man who can berate, scarify and yell with the best of them when provoked. He is also extremely capable in the field - when his helicopter crashes, he coolly gets on with looking after the injured men, and lights a fire to attract attention to the crash site.
- Lieutenant Colonel Mark Osbourne, who spent time in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.
- Dad the Veteran: Quite a few characters went into the Fusiliers because they are part of an Army tradition.
- "Double, Double" Title: Soldier Soldier
- Fake Aristocrat: At one point, Dave is persuaded by some of the unit's junior officers to put on the mess dress of a lieutenant and bluff his way into a rival unit's officers' mess. Tucker carries off the deception, much to the delight of the officers concerned, but while sneaking back into barracks, he is clocked by the Regimental Sergeant-Major, who is outraged to see a private soldier wearing officers' uniform he has no right to. Tucker ends up in the cells, but is only mildly reprimanded by the Colonel, who appreciates his junior officers are the ones at fault. They get a right royal bollocking later.
- Good Shepherd: Padre Simon Armstrong, who is a kind and sympathetic ear to the officers, men and wives.
- Military Brat: Lots and lots of them; the show is drama set in a British army barracks in peacetime. Wives and families feature a lot.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Almost all the officers and NCOs want the best for their soldiers.
- Sergeant Rock: Throughout the run of the show, there are various Company and Regimental Sergeant-Majors, all of whom embody the trope.
- Soldier vs. Warrior: Senior soldiers and older officers are veterans of real shooting battles, who sometimes despair of the peacetime, unblooded, men they are training and leading.
- Suspiciously Small Army: The entire regiment is rarely on display at any one time. Normally the series focuses on B company, or especially whichever platoon the main characters are in.