British Army programmes on BBC iplayer

I’ve stumbled upon a fantastic collection of programmes on the British Army on bbciplayer, some modern, and some archive. Apparently, unbeknown to me, BBC4 have launched an ‘Army Collection‘, many of which are available to view online. Only, I’m afraid to say, to those of you watching in the UK. But to those of us sitting up in bed suffering from a hideous case of man-flu, its a goldmine!

One series I know will be very popular is The Paras, a famous 1982 documentary. There is also a set of 30-minute regimental histories, covering amongst other the Grenadiers and Coldstreamers, the Paras and the Gurkhas. Some of it is a little basic, and as usual with anything Regimental in the British Army, everyone’s own Regiment is of course the best ever bar none. But when you watch the ‘In the Highest Tradition’ programmes, you realise that all Regiments have their own, equally barmy, traditions and claims to fame. I also realise I could never have made an officer – silver service is not my style, give me take-away any time.

The BBC have also made available a great set of programmes from the Silver Jubilee in 1977, including the Scots Guards Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards. My personal favourite is the Queen reviewing the 4th Division of the British Army of the Rhine on the Sennelager training area in Germany. It involved 578 tracked vehicles, over 3,000 troops, and 27 Regiments. Incredible stuff, and something we will probably never see the like of ever again – it would be unthinkable to bring together a division for just a review! 3 Regiments of Chieftan  Main Battle tanks, 1 Recce Regiment, and 4 armoured infantry Battalions in 432 AFV’s, as well as supporting arms, including Gazelle and Scout Helicopters. Abbott 105mm guns, M109 155mm guns, 175mm guns, Lance nuclear missiles, Engineer AFVs including bridge laying equipment, RAMC Field Ambulances, REME in Armoured Recovery Vehicles, Stalwarts, you name it.

Other treats include ‘how to make a Royal Marine officer’, the life of a Household Cavalry Corporal of Horse, the Pathfinder Platoon in training, training in the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre, Panorama behind the scenes at Sandhurst, and the Army in Belize and Borneo.

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21 Comments

Filed under Army, On TV

21 responses to “British Army programmes on BBC iplayer

  1. John Erickson

    Dang it all, will you quit teasing me with “UK only” stuff?!? :D
    I have to check into this – there’s GOTTA be some way to get that stuff over here.
    Oh, just so you know, we Coldstreamers KNOW we have the best regiment, it’s those other poor deluded souls that need to be educated. Especially those lowlife supporters of the Royal Navy! ;)

    • James Daly

      Theres got to be some way you can do it John. I’m a licence fee payer and I couldn’t give two hoots if people abroad could watch it, as far as im concerned the BBC pays millions to make programmes in asian, gaelic, russian, bloody klingon for all I know. Surely the odd bloke watching a documentary is hardly a crime?

      ‘nil secundis’, but second in the line ;) Seriously if I had to be a Guardsman I think I would have to be a Grenadier, probably down to my interest in Waterloo. Yes, I know the Coldstreamers were at Waterloo, but there’s something about the Duke shouting ‘up Guards and at em!’

      • John Erickson

        Um … that’s “Nulli Secundis”. At least that’s what our “Commanding Officer” always told us.
        Old bloke, eh? Don’t worry, I’ll make you pay for that SOMEHOW! :p :D

        • x

          I always thought Nulli Secundis was reference to the rather stingy rations the Army seem to provide compared with the RN.

          • John Erickson

            I think you mean “close to nothing” or tunc ut nusquam.
            Also known as the answer to “What is the US Republican Party’s collective IQ?”. :D

            • x

              So it isn’t Latin for “no seconds” then?

              • John Erickson

                Well, since the phrase is translated as “Second to None”, it either means the Coldstream Guard are in first place, or next to last. Or that there’s only 1/60th of a minute left for them.
                (Every government body needs an “anti-wiseacre” department to shut idiots like me down. ;) )

  2. x

    I am switching to an unlimited data allowance after Christmas so l hope they are still available. I remember the Para’ programme. Let’s hope the BBC do the RN a favour and do resurrect the show on HMS Brilliant. Eek!!

    To be honest I haven’t watched any of the recent BBC4 season on the Army. But I did watch that recent BBC3 series on Afghanistan which frightened the life out of me. Not so much the firefights or the IEDs, more the lack of manpower, planning, and dare I say decent kit. The first episode with that Para’ platoon house was an utter disgrace. “Prepare to be over run!” What the heck?

    As for Coldstream it always makes me think of snot….. :)

    And a Happy Trafalgar Day for tomorrow.

    • x

      Don’t resurrect……………

    • James Daly

      I loved Brilliant when it was on. The best bit was the fat bloke getting a Turkish massage in Istanbul, and screaming ‘I could have stayed in Plymouth and got beaten up for free’ lol

      It’s a grim day when you hear Paras saying ‘prepare to be over-run’. Never expect to hear that…

      • x

        When Brilliant was being shown I was in Portsmouth several times. I didn’t watch it then but recorded for when I got home.
        It was a bit too meta actually being in a warship and then watching a documentary about being in a warship……….

        There have been to many close shaves in Afghanistan. The British presence there pretty much amounts to a reinforced brigade plus an air element. It was/is a job for a division. It is interesting to compare the effectiveness of the British in A-stan and their resources with those available to the Rhodesians in their bush war. Supposedly we are one of the richest countries in the world yet we can’t afford a flight of say 8 to 12 medium helicopters to lift a relief force? Those Taliban surrounding that platoon were fixed. And it seems that once that happens the Army (if the numbers are reasonable) has no trouble destroying the Taliban formations. As I said no planning, not enough man power, and not enough equipment. Brave men are/were put at a risk.

  3. John Erickson

    Totally off-topic, two quick questions
    1) (For James). I need your Email address. My computer ate it.
    2) (For All Y’all) Stay tuned, I hope to debut my own blog by Monday. Nothing as erudite or high-minded as this one, but some interesting and humourous stories, including tales of stupidity from my re-enacting days. I’ll let James know when I’m ready, as I am CERTAIN he will want to make a big, splashy announcement on this site. (You WILL want to make the big announcement, right, James, buddy, old pal? ;) :D )

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