Lads Army (TV Series 2002–2006)


Lads Army (TV Series 2002–2006)

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...
IMDb  7.8 /10
Creator Charlie Clay
Creator Chris Cottam
Release Date
Runtime1h 0mins
GenreComedy, History, Reality-TV
Content Rating
Awards2 nominations.
CompanyTwenty Twenty Television
Joe Murray
Joe Murray
Corporal Murray 32 episodes, 2002-2006
Richard Nauyokas
Richard Nauyokas
Corporal Nauyokas 26 episodes, 2002-2006
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

Lads' Army

Lads' Army is a reality game show, specifically of the kind that constitutes a historically derived social experiment. Shown on ITV, Bad Lads Army is based on the premise of subjecting today's delinquent young men to the conditions of conscripts to British Army National Service of the 1950s to see if this could rehabilitate them.

The programme was derived from an earlier one called simply Lads Army (a play on Dad's Army) in which a number of volunteers underwent four weeks of basic training for 1950s National Service. Unlike the three sequel series (the ones whose titles began with "Bad"), the original programme's experiment was merely to see if 18-24 year old members of the modern British public could cope with the 1950s training, and how they compared to the public of that period. The success of the original series led to the experiment being repeated with the recruits having committed criminal offences, often given the option to undergo the training by courts as an alternative to serving pending sentences, to explore the proposition that it would be beneficial to reinstate National Service for petty criminals and delinquents as an alternative to more conventional sentences. Series 4 lowered the age to 17 and raised the age to 26.

The programme format is relatively simple. The recruits are issued period uniforms and equipment and fed, quartered and trained according to the standards of the era. Their free time is limited to visits to the NAAFI with period refreshments and facilities. The recruits form a single platoon made up of two sections, each under the care of a section commander, either Richard Nauyokas (in series 3 Nauyokas was replaced by Glen Thomas, although he still appeared as a relief corporal) or Joe Murray. During training the sections compete against each other, building a sense of competition but also of teamwork and loyalty. Success brings modest rewards. Praise is given for whole-hearted attempts at tasks. The NCOs and officers running the training are all, or have been, professional British soldiers.

Each series had a slightly different format to its predecessors, although the theme of 1950s military training is common to all series. The 3rd series (known as Bad Lads' Army: Officer Class) had the volunteers train to become officers while the 4th series (known as Bad Lads' Army Extreme) had the volunteers train to become paratroopers.

Within each series a small number of the recruits have either walked out (after a 24-hour cooling off period), or been ejected. The majority of the remainder claim some benefit from the experience and some have chosen the British Army as a career at the end of it.

The narrator for the first series was Kevin Whately, then Dennis Waterman took over until the show ended in 2006.

Series 1-3 had included interviews with celebrities who had completed National Service in the 1950s, including Joss Ackland, Michael Aspel, Brian Blessed, Richard Briers, Paul Daniels, Frederick Forsyth, Bernard Manning, Nosher Powell, Andrew Sachs and Brian Sewell. During re-airings of the first series, the interviews were edited out.


Series 1 - (Lads Army, 2002)

Waterloo Platoon recruits

1 Section

CPL Richard Nauyokas

AgesOccupationSTATUS2 Section

CPL Joe Murray

Ade Adebayo21 (1981)University StudentPASSED OUTPaul Claydon20 (1982)UnemployedLEFT
William Bate19 (1982)Computer EngineerPASSED OUTSteve Daly21 (1981)Sales ManagerPASSED OUT
John Cooke23 (1979)Construction Site ManagerPASSED OUTTony Ellis22 (1980)UnemployedPASSED OUT
Jodie Copeland24 (1977)Customer Service ExecutivePASSED OUTDavid Gardner20 (1981)GardenerPASSED OUT
Jamie Dodd23 (1978)Musician/Pub CellermanLEFTGordon Hamilton21 (1981)Club BouncerPASSED OUT
Matthew Faulkner22 (1980)University StudentPASSED OUTChris Hampson21 (1981)Genetics StudentLEFT
Michael Honzick18 (1984)Design StudentPASSED OUTDaniel Harrison24 (1978)UnemployedPASSED OUT
Ross Pitman21 (1980)Research ExecutivePASSED OUTNicholas Holbrook22 (1980)Business ResearcherPASSED OUT
Kenny Poulter19 (1983)PostmanPASSED OUTAlex Kingsy19 (1983)Law StudentPASSED OUT
Thomas Rossiter18 (1984)School StudentPASSED OUTAaron Larson20 (1982)ActorLEFT
Nicholas Sandford23 (1979)Personal TrainerLEFTPeter Leyland23 (1978)Mechanical EngineerPASSED OUT
John-Paul Watts24 (1977)UnemployedPASSED OUTDan Neal22 (1979)BartenderPASSED OUT
Tom Woolfe22 (1979)Rugby CoachLEFTThomas O’ Hanlon21 (1980)UnemployedPASSED OUT
William Wood22 (1980)University StudentLEFTAdam Spires20 (1981)NeedlecrafterPASSED OUT
Lee Wooten21 (1981)University StudentLEFTSam Webb19 (1983)UnemployedPASSED OUT
James Willingham20 (1982)University StudentPASSED OUTPaul Eagle22 (1980)LabourerPASSED OUT

Series Overview

PASSED OUT = Recruit was present at the final stages of training, at the Passing Out Parade.

LEFT = Recruit quit or was discharged before making it to the final parade.

David Gardner received the “Best Recruit” award, James Willingham was awarded the platoons “Most Improved Recruit”. 2 Section won “Best Section”.

During the series, Tom Woolfe was dishonourably discharged/back squadded from the camp. Paul Clayden, Lee Wooten, and Chris Hampson chose the leave voluntarily. Nicholas Sandford deserted the base and never returned to camp. Jamie Dodd and Aaron Larson were medically discharged from the camp. William Wood’s exit is unknown as his exit never aired.

After William Wood and Paul Clayden left, William Bate and Paul Eagle were drafted in as replacement recruits.

Captain Richard Owen, Waterloo Platoon’s CO, died after the filming of the series in 2014, at age 48. He is said to have reportedly died from cancer.

Series 2 - (Bad Lads Army, 2004)

Montgomery Platoon recruits

1 Section

CPL Richard Nauyokas

AgesOccupationSTATUS2 Section

CPL Joe Murray

Tjobbe Andrew22 (1982)Website DesignerPASSED OUTChris Andrew21 (1982)UnemployedPASSED OUT
Marcus Birks23 (1981)UnemployedPASSED OUTMichael Blackham19 (1985)UnemployedPASSED OUT
David Butler21 (1983)JoinerPASSED OUTAlan Brown23 (1981)UnemployedLEFT
Shaun Carr18 (1986)StudentPASSED OUTLuke Brown23 (1981)UnemployedLEFT
Peter Cray23 (1980)ActorPASSED OUTChris Davis18 (1986)StudentPASSED OUT
Ashley Cummings18 (1986)StudentLEFTDamien Ellis23 (1980)GraduatePASSED OUT
Matthew Gilks21 (1982)BuilderPASSED OUTDaniel Kett21 (1982)Civil EngineerLEFT
Robert Grundy19 (1984)UnemployedPASSED OUTMichael Lowes22 (1982)SalespersonPASSED OUT
Chris Harkin18 (1986)UnemployedPASSED OUTAlex Rennie24 (1979)UnemployedPASSED OUT
John Kyprianou23 (1980)BarmanPASSED OUTShingi Sekerama19 (1985)UnemployedPASSED OUT
Mark Lamont20 (1985)UnemployedPASSED OUTRobert Shutler22 (1983)StudentPASSED OUT
Ashley Morton21 (1983)Landscape GardenerLEFTScott Simpson18 (1986)UnemployedLEFT
Wil Moynihan20 (1983)BarmanPASSED OUTWayne Spiller24 (1980)StudentPASSED OUT
Hassan Murtada24 (1979)ScaffolderPASSED OUTChristopher Townsend20 (1983)Barman/StudentLEFT
Robert Pembrook19 (1984)UnemployedPASSED OUTRichard Weaver20 (1984)Cinema Team LeaderPASSED OUT
N/AN/AN/AN/AStilianos Xidakis18 (1985)High School StudentPASSED OUT

Series Overview

PASSED OUT = Recruit was present at the final stages of training, at the Passing Out Parade.

LEFT = Recruit quit or was discharged before making it to the final parade.

Tjobbe Andrews, Matthew Gilks and Robert Shutler were given Officer Recommendations. This would be the goal of the following series. John Kyprianou received the Platoon’s Top Shot (the highest score in the shooting range). Marcus Birks received the Best Recruit award at the Pass Out Parade, with Robert Pembrook receiving the Most Improved award. 2 Section won Best Section. With 2 Section winning best section, CPL Murray was promoted to SGT at the Passing Out Parade.

Luke Brown and Ashley Morton were dishonourably discharged. Scott Simpson, Daniel Kett and Chris Townsend chose to leave voluntarily. Ashley Cummings and Alan Brown's status' are unknown, as how they were discharged was never specified.

After Scott Simpson quit before even being issued a single item of kit or his uniform, Alex Rennie was drafted in as a replacement recruit. At the time of the series release, there was speculation that Tom Woolfe from the first series who was back squadded was set to return but never did for unknown reasons. This is heavily suspected, as there was no replacement for 1 Section after Ashley Cummings left and Woolfe was in 1 Section during the first series, however, to this date, nothing has been confirmed.

After the filming of the series, Michael Lowes was said to have suffered from clinical depression and was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide in 2010, at age 28.

SGT Alistair Rae died in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Series 3 - (Bad Lads Army: Officer Class, 2005)

Churchill Platoon recruits

1 Section (Blue)

NCO - CPL Glen Thomas

AgesOccupationOfficer Potential2 Section (Red)

NCO - CPL Joe Murray

AgesOccupationOfficer Potential
Tim Bailey22 (1983)UnemployedYESDarren Adams19 (1986)StudentNO
Carl Bedford20 (1985)UnemployedNORoss Barrett20 (1984)Unemployed Novelist/BarmanNO
Chris Danns24 (1981)UnemployedNOSteven Bedford20 (1984)UnemployedLEFT
Aaron Groom23 (1981)UnemployedNOBen Hains21 (1984)Painter DecoratorNO
Les Harvey18 (1987)Army Marine Dropout/Stock TakerNODarren Hardman22 (1982)UnemployedYES
Jack Kendall21 (1984)ScaffolderNORifat Hassan22 (1982)Security GuardYES
Simon Magil22 (1982)UnemployedYESDavid Johnstone24 (1980)Web DesignerNO
Garry Miller20 (1985)Office JuniorYESJonathan McDade18 (1987)StudentYES
Adam Oakley19 (1986)Royal Mail SorterLEFTSimon Pietkewitz23 (1983)UnemployedYES
Robert Page20 (1984)Drivers MateYESBenjamin Priestman22 (1982)UnemployedNO
Simon Pinkney23 (1981)Actor/DancerLEFTMatthew Rawlings24 (1980)BoxerNO
James Roberts20 (1984)Tyre FitterYESHaydn Russell21 (1984)Sales TempNO
Robert Schofield21 (1983)UnemployedNORocco Scalercio20 (1985)UnemployedNO
Dale Tate22 (1983)UnemployedLEFTTaisen Coree-Smith24 (1981)UnemployedNO
Matthew Tate24 (1980)UnemployedLEFTAdrian Turton24 (1980)TechnicianLEFT
Wesley Worrall21 (1983)UnemployedLEFTKirk Woodend21 (1984)Stripper/Porn ActorLEFT

Series Overview

YES = Recruit was selected for officer training.

NO = Recruit was not selected for officer training.

LEFT = Recruit left the series, either voluntarily, due to being dishonourably discharged or a medical discharge.

The Passing Out Parade never stated who received “Best Recruit”, or “Most Improved Recruit”, as well as which Section were the winners overall. This is the only season that had no contestants born in the 1970's.

Wesley Worrall, Steven Bedford, and Matthew Tate were dishonourably discharged from the camp, Kirk Woodend chose to leave voluntarily and Adam Oakley was medically discharged, Dale Tate (Matthew Tate's brother) deserted the section and never returned to the Platoon; his brother deserted with him, but later returned. Simon Pinkney and Adrian Turton left the camp, however their exits were never aired.

After Wesley Worrall and Steven Bedford were discharged, Chris Danns and Matthew Rawlings were drafted in, as replacement recruits.

Robert Page initially was selected for officer training but quit before training began and was forced to return to unit.

At the end of the final episode, the narrator stated that 11 of 24 who passed out had subsequently applied to join the regular British Army.

Robert Page died after the filming of the series, in 2020, age 36.

Series 4 - (Bad Lads Army: Extreme, 2006)

Pegasus Platoon recruits


NCO - CPL Richard Nauyokus

AgesOccupationFinal Jump SelectionRED SECTION

NCO - CPL Joe Murray

AgesOccupationFinal Jump Selection
Jamie Brooks21 (1984)NOJames Bourne23 (1983)UnemployedYES
Samuel Bruce Angland21 (1984)Security GuardNOChris Coad22 (1984)UnemployedNO
Keith Burke19 (1987)UnemployedLEFTAiden Chaffe17 (1988)UnemployedNO
Colin Elliot23 (1983)UnemployedLEFTAndrew Findley24 (1981)Teaching AssistantNO
Mark Grimes26 (1979)UnemployedNOLuke Howard18 (1987)LEFT
Sebastian Judd21 (1985)YESKyle Jensen22 (1983)RooferYES
Raymond Impey21 (1985)UnemployedLEFTAndrew Jimson25 (1981)UnemployedLEFT
Phillip Lee-Hodgeson20 (1985)NODarren McDonald26 (1980)Fitness InstructorLEFT
Adam Mercer25 (1981)UnemployedLEFTSean Morris24 (1981)YES
Luke Moyes19 (1986)LEFTShaz Nawaz23 (1982)Security GuardYES
Joe Peto17 (1989)YESJerry Reilly25 (1980)NO
Matthew Reed18 (1988)University Student/Riot LeaderLEFTJoe Renwick19 (1986)NO
Ron Spike25 (1980)LEFTJamie Smeadly21 (1984)PlastererNO
Steven Walker22 (1983)YESRobin Woodfourth22 (1983)UnemployedYES
Gavin Woodhouse21 (1985)UnemployedYESTyrone Walsh26 (1979)NO
Joel Whittaker24 (1982)LEFTLeon White20 (1986)LEFT

Series Overview

YES = Recruit was selected for the Final Parachute Jump

NO = Recruit was not selected for Final Parachute Jump.

LEFT = Recruit left the series, either voluntarily, due to being dishonourably discharged or a medical discharge.

The Passing Out Parade never stated who received “Best Recruit”, or “Most Improved Recruit”. Blue Section were the winning section.

Colin Elliot was Dishonourably Discharged from the camp. Keith Burke, Adam Mercer, Joel Whittaker, and Andrew Jimson were dismissed on Bin Day, just before the interrogation phase. Ron Spike, Leon White, Luke Howard, Matthew Reed, Raymond Impey, Darren McDonald and Luke Moyes were all dismissed from the camp but their exits never aired. This series features a high amount of unusual dismissals, with 12 exits total.

After Colin Elliot and Ron Spike were discharged, Joe Peto and Steven Walker were drafted in, as replacement recruits. This was the first time that both replacement recruits went into the same section.

Aiden Chaffe died after the filming of the series, in 2018, age 29 in a parachute accident with a malfunction.


SeriesStart dateEnd dateEpisodes
13 June 20025 July 200210
28 July 200426 August 20048
328 July 20058 September 20057
411 July 200629 August 20067


Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.

Series 1

ITV1 weekly
13 June 2002N/AN/A
25 June 20026.1415
310 June 20026.2714
414 June 20025.4718
517 June 20025.2823
621 June 2002N/AN/A
724 June 20025.9814
825 June 20025.1916
928 June 20024.9318
105 July 20025.4218

Series 2

ITV1 weekly
18 July 20046.4815
215 July 20046.5813
322 July 20046.2315
429 July 20045.4517
55 August 20045.6416
612 August 20045.4117
719 August 20045.4416
826 August 20044.7216

Series 3

ITV1 weekly
128 July 20055.1315
24 August 20055.2415
311 August 20055.2315
418 August 20054.6718
525 August 20055.0515
61 September 20055.0915
78 September 20055.4018

Series 4

ITV1 weekly
111 July 20063.8719
218 July 20063.3121
325 July 20063.1421
41 August 20063.3125
515 August 2006N/AN/A
622 August 2006N/AN/A
729 August 2006N/AN/A

International versions

The TV format has been exported in Italy and aired on 2021.

CountryTitleTV channel(s)SeasonsDistribution
ItalyLa caserma

(English: The Barracks)

Rai 21
  • 27 January 2021 – 10 March 2021