Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Lads Army


Narrator: Kevin Whately
Acorn Media UK
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: E
Available 04 January 2010

Thirty 18-24 year old men are thrown together and put through a regimen which half way through the last century would have been the making of them: National Service. In a disused army barracks, they’ll be given a taste of army life, 50s style. An abuse-screaming sergeant major will lick them into shape. Humiliating punishments will include cleaning the toilets with a toothbrush and cutting the lawn with nail scissors. They’ll be beaten down and dragged up only to be beaten down again - drilled and driven until they reach breaking point. 30 volunteers face home-sickness, barrack room tensions and a grueling regime...

Lads Army (originally broadcast in 2002) was the first in a four-series run. However this was the only series to feature normal law abiding members of the public, the following three series (retitled Bad Lads Army) took self-professed delinquents and attempted to whip them into shape.

Personally, I preferred the later Bad Lads Army series' - mainly because it was more satisfying to see cocky lads, who thought they knew it all, disciplined and when other lads who had simply strayed were given a purpose it was great to see them step up to the plate and shine.

Lads Army is interesting in the respect that, like National Service, it throws together ordinary individuals from all walks of life and sees how they react to the strict discipline that is designed to turn them into mature adults.

Because there are so many recruits, obviously not all of them get much camera time. In fact, even in the last episode, there were faces that I didn't recognise. Not all of the lads involved stay the distance. Some walk, others are forced out, while a couple are discharged because they fail their medicals. The lads are split into two groups, each living in separate barracks, with corporal Nauyokas and corporal Murray taking charge of their training and barrack inspections.

Over the show's four weeks (split over 10 episodes) the recruits are put through hell in a simple test of whether they can follow orders. Those that rebel soon realise that it's pointless to argue. And it soon becomes apparent that the reason their corporal finds fault with almost everything is more down to ensuring that the recruits blindly follow orders without questioning. For example, did the ladies underwear that corporal Murray found really belong to one of the recruits? Or was it a simple test to see how long they could be punished before one of the lads admitted they owned them - even though they didn't.

While everything is designed to be as authentic as possible it was obvious that there would be a few staged situation - the most obvious one sees Nauyokas and Murray getting a dressing down for buying the lads some beers. And, when one of the recruits fails to carry out his punishment properly all of the lads are made to suffer. They are made to paint the coal house, and all the coal inside, white. But surely this was going to happen anyway. As one of the recruits points out: why else would 30 paint brushes suddenly appear in the NAFFI the day before?

Extras include the text based Introduction to Lads Army and Top Ten Punishments as well as a Picture Gallery.

An interesting series which is actually quite moving in places.


Darren Rea

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£14.98 (
£14.99 (
£22.99 (
£17.47 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.