1. Who thought a comedy about a bomb disposal unit would ever work…
… but it does. There were more than a few raised eyebrows when BBC3 first announced their comedy set in Afghanistan and it takes some skilful writing to squeeze within the realms of acceptability, but James Cary and Richard Hurst have done just that. Killing off an Army boss in the opening scenes of series one was certainly a risky business, but they pulled it off and the show has since deservedly won itself a loyal fan base.
2. Men in Uniform
Seriously. What’s not to love about men (and women) in army fatigues? Especially those bearing an uncanny resemblance to Prince William. Speaking of…
3. Oliver Chris
With a TV CV boasting the likes of Green Wing and The Office, Oli Chris was always going to bring in the laughs as womanising Captain Nick Medhurst. His cocksure ATO (that’s Ammunition Technical Officer for you uninitiated folk), has plenty of balls, diffusing bombs left, right and centre, but his luck isn’t holding out when it comes to the camp’s Padre, Mary (played by Hustle’s Kelly Adams). That brings us to…
4. Nick’s appalling flirting
Relentless, unabated, embarrassing – all words that spring to mind when it comes to Nick’s fruitless attempts to woo the woman of the cloth. Although, his campaign has not gone entirely unnoticed – there’s no missing Mary’s secret longing to join Nick’s undoubtedly long list of conquests. But it’s her belligerent battle against his advances that keeps us entertained. It would be no fun if these two actually got together – and judging by the introduction of a handsome new suitor for Mary, we needn’t worry about that happening any time soon.
5. The fighting talk
You’d be hard pushed to find many leaders kicking off a team outing with the phrase “Off we f**k”, but that’s just how the Bluestone 42 crew roll.
6. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter
We know what you’re thinking. When did the gap-toothed, gormless kid from Hogwarts transform into such a hunk? It’s a wonder what a few gym sessions, some stubble and a decent haircut can do for a fella. If you tuned in at Christmas you’d have seen Matthew Lewis join proceedings as Nick’s deputy Gordon “Towerblock” House, replacing Gary Carr’s Sergeant Millsy. We’ve been promised shirtless scenes.
7. The explosions
What’s a bomb disposal comedy without an explosion or two, eh? Like this…
And according to Matthew Lewis, we can expect several more blasts in the upcoming second series. “That’s what the show’s about. It’s a danger these bombs are likely to detonate and a couple of times they really do.”
8. Lance Corporal Simon Lansley
We’ve got a soft spot for Simon. For much of series one, the poor lad had his knickers in a twist juggling the demands of his tirelessly irate fiancé Charlotte and the endless teasing from young Scottish Privates Mac and Rocket. With his penchant for knitted jumpers and endless pairs of slippers, we’ve rather fallen for the granddad of the team.
9. Comedy meets drama meets comedy
One of Bluestone’s selling points is its ability to switch masterfully from comedy to drama at the drop of a hat. And back again. One minute the team will be playing blindfolded fencing (more on that later), the next they’ll be under enemy fire. And as the very first scene proved, no one is safe. The result? Buckets of jeopardy paired with many a crude gag – about as close as most of us are ever going to get to an authentic Army experience.
10. The games
For a masterclass in keeping yourself amused during long periods of nothing, look no further than Mac and Rocket. Their repertoire of perilous homemade games ranges from the aforementioned blindfolded fencing (assaulting your opponent with a giant gaffa-taped pole) to fire antlers (attempting to set alight petrol-soaked antlers balanced on your head with a flaming walnut). Health and safety in a nutshell.
Series two of Bluestone 42 begins tonight at 10:00pm on BBC3