Documentary series following 30 bad lads over a four-week period as they go through army basic training 1950s style.




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Series cast summary:
Joe Murray Joe Murray ...  Corporal Murray 32 episodes, 2002-2006
Richard Nauyokas Richard Nauyokas ...  Corporal Nauyokas 26 episodes, 2002-2006
Dennis Waterman ...  Narrator 22 episodes, 2004-2006
Allistair Rae Allistair Rae ...  Platoon Sergeant Rae 22 episodes, 2004-2006
Timothy Weston Timothy Weston ...  Provost Sergeant Weston 13 episodes, 2005-2006


In this reality show, a military training facility 1950s style has been reconstructed and several professional soldiers were extensively trained in the period's style as Montgomery platoon's commanding officer, CSM Glen Thomas, drill sergeant, provost sergeant, PE instructor and section corporals, and on Sunday an Anglican padre. There thirty volunteering 'bad lads' aged 18 to 24, mostly with criminal records, are to pass the period's standard four weeks training course which recruits were routinely given in the Fifties. It's a grim life from another age, when 'boys' were generally expected to 'take like a man' constant discomfort, verbal abuse and even utter humiliation without cringing or protesting. Today's bad lads have the option to leave without being hunted down as deserters, and a few do even in the first days... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

July 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Lads Army See more »

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Did You Know?


Sergeant Major Watley in Lads Army was an ex bad lad himself. His high school teachers believed that their were only 2 places available to him: the army or the prison. Sergeant Major Watley served in the Royal Hampshire Regiment for the best part of 30 years reaching the rank Sergeant Major. See more »


Referenced in Screenwipe: Episode #2.3 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Going downhill with each new series
29 August 2006 | by johnbirch-1See all my reviews

What began in series one as a recreation of 1950s National Service by series 4 has degenerated into a mildly sadistic sham with any real "recreation" thrown away in favour of more beasting and the random full frontal (male) nudity.

Which is a shame, because the initial series WERE good, and interesting, and asked questions about how relevant or effective National Service might be.

However - even with the first series - the major, overwhelming, problem is that these questions are never properly asked or discussed. The "soldiers" end their course and... we never hear of them again. No follow up (except for at the end of series three where the follow up was barely weeks, so not worth it).

Did the experience have any long-term effect? Did those who join the "real" army stay the course? Where are they now? Could such an experience provide any solution to problems of youth behaviour? Without this it really is a pointless show, and clearly by series 4 ("Extreme") ITV know it. So we now have the "recruits" following a course that bares no resemblance at all to any real 1950s course all with the "prize" of the "winner" going on a parachute jump.

Less "Who dares wins" than "Who cares who wins"! Series 1 deserved 8 stars - but deduct a star for each successive outing!

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