|Gary: Tank Commander|
|Country of origin||Scotland|
|Original languages||English, some Scots|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||approx. 30 minutes|
|Production company||The Comedy Unit|
|Original network||BBC Scotland (both BBC1 & BBC2)|
|Original release||21 October 2009 –|
17 October 2012
Gary: Tank Commander is a BAFTA award-winningScottish sitcom, written and created by Greg McHugh, and produced by the Comedy Unit. The show originated in 2008 as a one-off pilot for More4, under the title Gary's War. A full series was subsequently commissioned and broadcast on BBC Two Scotland in December 2009, with the programme moving to BBC One Scotland for the second series in January 2011. Originally broadcast in Scotland only, in the summer of 2011 the series received a UK-wide screening on BBC Three.
McHugh, who is also the screenwriter, plays the eponymous character, Gary McLintoch (the tank commander), a corporal in the fictional 104th Royal Tank Regiment of the British Army. He based the character on an old pal of his who was in the RAF from Callander, Big Stu Hutch. Filming for the third series began in April 2012.
Each episode is about the lives of Gary and his three British Army friends after they have returned home to Callander, Scotland from military deployments. The first series follows the foursome's service in Iraq, while the second takes place after their time in Afghanistan.
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Filming locations have included East Kilbride's Territorial Army (TA) Centre, Walcheren Barracks in Maryhill, Garelochhead Training Camp and the drill hall of the Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps. Clydebank has also featured as the "town centre" (episodes 1 and 3) and a location in Kirkintilloch was used for the Iraq army camp scenes (apparently, a section of land and a human-made hole were employed), both appearing in the first season.[ citation needed ]
The second series was again filmed at East Kilbride TA Centre and Maryhill, with Cambuslang's Dechmont ranges included. Locations also included the small village of Milton of Campsie, most notably the old railway line, used in the storyline that features the scattering of Gary's mother's ashes.[ citation needed ] For the second season's Afghanistan scenes, Hughes revealed in 2011 that filming was undertaken in Scotland.
Most of the main characters, especially Gary, occasionally use Scots language when speaking, giving rise to some humorous situations throughout the show. A notable example occurs in series 1, episode 3 ("The General"),when a visiting American general struggles to appropriately use the term "ken" ("know" or "understand"). The use of Scots language has not hindered the accessibility of the show to a broader English-speaking audience.
The original pilot was filmed as a mockumentary, with interviews, archive news material, YouTube-style videos and "fly-on-the-wall" footage following Gary's return home from Iraq.For the series, the show moved towards a traditional sitcom format, although it retained the use of interspersed interviews and video clips.
Each episode contains several scenes where Gary is interacting with an unseen interviewer regarding a topic from the respective episode. The interviews are usually composed of Gary's idle thoughts and they help viewers to understand Gary. Occasionally, words or phrases (but rarely complete sentences) are subtitled in these interviews for emphasis. These subtitles are often presented with the use of subtle kinetic typography.
Each episode commences with a YouTube-style video clip (with an accompanying time meter) showing the soldiers and their antics whilst in Iraq (series one) or Afghanistan (series two) and further segments are spread throughout the episode. The clips are usually independent of the episode's plot but display the soldiers' sense of humour, creativity with equipment and their boredom during deployment.
|Greg McHugh||Gary McLintoch||Corporal|
|Robert Jack||Jacko Jackson||Lance-Corporal|
|Scott Fletcher||Charlie Smith||Private|
|Paul-James Corrigan||Adam Kenning||Private||Series 1 & 2|
|James Rottger||Mickey Millar||Private||Series 3|
|Stuart Bowman||Sergeant Thomson||Troop Sergeant|
|Miles Jupp||Sebastian Fanshaw||Captain (Officer Commanding)|
|Leah MacRae||Julie Jackson||Bakery worker; Jacko's sister|
|Callum Cuthbertson||Martin McLintoch||Gary's father||Recurring|
|James Allenby-Kirk||Jeff the Chef||Chef||Recurring|
Concerns arose regarding the show's portrayal of British Army soldiers and the offence it may cause Scottish viewers. McHugh subsequently dismissed these worries, stating that, "We hear lots about the death of troops, sadly, but we never hear about the more human side or the lighter side".The concerns were proven to be unfounded and the programme was re-commissioned by the BBC, thereafter returning for a second series.
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