In Soldier and Me A young Czech immigrant is befriended by teenage schoolfriend Jim, The Czech boy, nicknamed Soldier by Jim because he can’t pronounce his actual name, overhears a murder plot in the local library. When the police don’t believe them Jim and Soldier conduct an investigation themselves only to find that they are also now on the criminals hit list.
Shot on film and with a nicely naturalistic feel Soldier and Me was based on the novel Run For Your Life by David Line, this was set following the events of the 1956 Hungarian uprising but this telling updated the action to focus on the 1968 Czech uprising. Some of the action moved from Christmas in East Anglia to Spring in the Lake District mainly to avoid any weather issues during filming.
It’s quite a hard hitting series from it’s opening moments of Soldier being bullied to the chase sequences with the criminals on the tail of Soldier and Jim.
Gerry Sundquist, 18 at the time, does well in the lead, he also contributes a humorous narration, mostly concerning the fact that despite the fact that at the start he quite resents Soldier tagging along with him everywhere he can’t help getting drawn in.
Producer Brian Armstrong had actually been in Czechoslavakia as a reporter during the 1968 uprising.
ITV – Granada / 9×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 September – 10 November 1974
Writer: David Line from his own novel Run For Your Life / Production Design: Michael Grimes / Music: Derek Hilton / Producer: Brian Armstrong / Director: Carol Wilks
Gerry Sundquist as Jim
Richard Willis as Soldier
Sally Sanders as Mrs Woolcott
Murray Leach as Ron Nixon
Richard Wilson as Dr Nixon