New BBC One documentary Soldier to start on 5 October

The BBC have announced that Soldier, a brand-new 5x60 documentary series with exclusive access inside the British Army, will air on BBC One and be available on BBC iPlayer on 5 October

L-R: Private Jerry Okyere, Private Hope Mainwaring, Private Owen South, Private Olivia Hall-Beakhouse, Private Callum Stretton



With behind-the-scenes insight into the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, cameras follow a platoon of fresh-faced infantry recruits as they take on a gruelling six-month training course that will push their limits physically and mentally to see if they have what it takes to fight on the frontline in the British Army.

The five-part series from Label1 (makers of the award-winning BBC series Hospital), will chart the transformation of the young men and women as they leave friends and family behind, swapping nine to five jobs and video games for real-life weapons and an army uniform. Have they got what it takes to operate as close combat warriors? Are they ready for action anywhere in the world? Only the very best will pass.

Amongst the recruits is a 20-year-old whose mother is a pacifist, a 17 year-old former fast-food restaurant worker, a 21-year-old ex-aspiring footballer from Middlesbrough, and an 18-year-old woman who hails from a military family and is eager to follow in the footsteps of her father.

Women have only been permitted to join frontline infantry roles since 2018 and they must meet the same standards as men.

The 45 recruits tackle punishing obstacle courses, handle and fire weapons, undergo rigorous inspections, and crucially, learn how to kill at close quarters using only a bayonet.

Under the watchful eyes of the training team, including Lieutenant Wahab, Sergeant McIntosh and Corporal White, recruits face the reality of what it means to be a frontline soldier, at a time when war is raging in Europe for the first time in a generation.

Some will stay the course as they achieve things they never dreamed themselves capable of, and others will struggle at the first hurdle.

Label1 CEO and co-founder, Lorraine Charker-Phillips, says: "Capturing the recruits' transformations across the series from civilian to front line soldiers in just 6 months was extraordinary. We are incredibly grateful for the exclusive access we were given and for the commitment that the trainers and recruits gave to the series that allowed us to tell their stories."

Jack Bootle, Head of Specialist Factual commissioning at the BBC, says: "Soldier takes viewers behind the scenes at ITC Catterick and into the heart of the British Army. I’m delighted to bring this revelatory series to BBC One and iPlayer, and looking forward to viewers watching our new recruits transform from kids to close combat warriors."

Colonel Shaun Chandler, Commander Headquarters Soldier Academy (North) says: "I am delighted that Soldier is coming to BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Six months of filming with the recruits and instructors of D1 Platoon at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick has resulted in a fascinating documentary covering infantry training showcasing the recruits growing in strength and confidence as they face their futures as infanteers in the British Army."

Soldier is a BBC Factual and BBC England co-commission and has been produced by Label1 (a Fremantle label). The first episode airs on Thursday 5th October at 9pm on BBC One and all episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer.

The new series is the latest example of the BBC’s commitment to producing more content from across the UK.

Over the next six years the BBC will increase activity across the North of England to further cement a commitment to reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country, and deliver great value for all audiences.

The exciting proposals set out in the BBC Across the UK plan gives even more prominence to stories from communities across the North region, as part of the biggest creative and journalistic reshaping of the BBC in its history.

The series producer is Kim Rossiter and the series director is Paul Wells. It is executive produced by Fran Baker, Lorraine Charker-Phillips and Simon Dickson. The commissioning editors for the BBC are Jack Bootle and Tony Parker.


Watch Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey from Sunday 24 September at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Source BBC One

September 22, 2023 3:00am ET by BBC One  


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