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 ...
 Corporal Murray 32 episodes, 2002-2006
Richard Nauyokas ...
 Corporal Nauyokas 26 episodes, 2002-2006
Allistair Rae ...
 Platoon Sergeant Rae 22 episodes, 2004-2006
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)  »

Also Known As:

Bad Lads Army  »

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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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17 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

Lads Army was a rather daft programme presented as an experimental documentary but it was really a scripted reality type show in my opinion.

A group of young men from the wrong side of tracks experience 1950s type National Service.

At the same time we have excerpts from interviews from celebrities who experienced actual National Service in the post war period. It is clear from some interviewees that they disliked National Service and thought it was awful.

Although there are some politicians who think National Service would be a good thing and these days anyone under the age of 75 years of age is unlikely to have experienced it and no be in another position to lecture to others about it.

As for the recruits they are set about to perform by the Corporals various tasks one of them eating slop almost like pigs. The tasks seem to be designed to humiliate, showed little purpose but the make the recruits look bad or moan.

It was a silly programme which was more of a guilty pleasure.

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