Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Scottish Regiments in TV Programmes and Films

A few years ago I compiled this list of Scottish regiments I had seen in films and television programmes. It has been a while since I updated it so recent appearances of Scottish troops on large or small screen may not have not been noted. If anyone can add any more, or correct any mistakes please leave a comment here or on our facebook page.

Note that most entries are for highland regiments. As far as I know, no KOSB or HLI soldiers have featured in a film.

Real Regiments

Scots Guards

TV Film ‘Tumbledown’ – Robert Lawrence’s story based on his own book about his time with the Scots Guards before and during the Falklands Conflict.

TV Drama ‘The Camomile Lawn’ – Character Hector is in Scots Gds in WW2. Service Dress tunic on screen is of Grenadiers but his wife refers to the three button spacing of his tunic in another scene.

Film ‘Paratrooper’ – Harry Andrews’s Para RSM is ex-Scots Guards.

Royal Scots Greys

Film ‘Waterloo’ – Charge of the Union Brigade. See also Gordons

Royal Scots Fusiliers

TV Series - Poirot special. Chronologically the first story but not first one made. See also unknowns

Black Watch

Film ‘The Sand Pebbles’ – Extras in scenes in Shanghai Bund

TV Series ‘Strathblair’ – Son is a Black Watch Major

TV Series ‘Monarch of the Glen’ – Flashback special where one character is a Boer War period Black Watch officer.

Film ‘Gunga Din’ – Easy to identify British soldiers for the US movie goers

Film ‘Soldiers Three’ – Easy to identify British soldiers for the US movie goers

Film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Black Watch on march behind Allenby in one scene

TV series ‘Northern Exposure’ – The former astronaut’s father or grandfather was an ex- Black Watch piper. His kilt and pipes are found in his loft.

Seaforth Highlanders

TV Series - Evelyn Waugh autobiographical comedy / drama – One of the officers wears a Seaforth glengarry

Film ‘Tobruk’ - Nigel Green’s colonel is a Seaforth.

Film ‘Appointment with Venus’ – David Niven as Seaforth Commando

TV Series - Blood Red Roses – Crippled father is a Seaforth. Fought in N.Africa, Italy N.W. Europe and Norway in the script. No Seaforths in Norway.

74th Highlanders

Film 'The Rare Breed'- James Stewart Western about breeding cattle. Brian Keith is a rival rancher and Scottish ex-soldier who turns up in 74th Full Dress to impress Maureen O'Hara. Keith’s ridiculous accent is more than matched by the fiery thatch of ginger facial hair he sports. (Rip Torn recreates this ridiculous combination of hair and tortured accent as a drunken Scottish sailor in Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russell comedy ‘Swept Away’)

Gordon Highlanders

TV Series ‘The Monoc’led Mutineer’ – Involved in rioting in town.

Film ‘Waterloo’ – Several scenes. See also Scots Greys

Film ‘Zeppelin’ – Michael York as a half-German, half-Scots Gordon

Film ‘The Heroes of the Krait’ Gordons officer leading Operation Rimau against Japs – all captured, tortured and beheaded.

Film ‘The Highest Honour’ Gordons officer leading Operation Rimau against Japs – all captured, tortured and beheaded.

TV Series ‘The Heroes’ Gordons officer leading Operation Rimau against Japs – all captured, tortured and beheaded.

Film ‘The Drum’ – Volunteers from regiment help Political Officer Roger Livesey on North West Frontier during the 1930’s

Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders

TV Film ‘Kim’ – Deserter is a Cameron

Film ‘Whisky Galore’ – Island in Inverness-shire. Home Guard in Camerons uniform

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Film ‘Too Late the Hero’ South-East Asia 1941/42

Film ‘To End All Wars’ – Several key characters are Argylls

Film ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ – 93rd Highlanders

Film ‘The Captive Heart’ – Blind Gordon Jackson is an Argyll. See also unknown regiment section.

Recent TV Film ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’ – Set in 1914. Wrong sporrans.

The Highland Regiment

TV Sitcom ‘Dad’s Army'

Canadian Scots

Film ‘The Devil’s Brigade’ – Canadian contingent led by Pipe Band. Several Canadian Scots regiments represented.

Seaforth Highlanders of Canada

Film ‘Paratrooper’ Alan Ladd joins Paras via Seaforths of Canada. Also Harry Andrews is an ex-Scots Guards RSM

Unknown regiments

Poirot special – In military hospital red tartan kilt. Canadians? See also RSF

Film ‘The Captive Heart’ – Reformed 51st Div personnel used as extras playing captured 51st Div. men using real POW camp in Germany for film set. See also Argylls

Film ‘The Man who Would be King’ Sean Connery and Michael Caine laughing about one of the pipers in their old regiment during their campaign in Afghanistan. Could be 72nd or 92nd Highlanders?

Confused Soldiers

Sean Connery in 'Murder on the Orient Express' is a Royal Scot in one scene and a Scots Guard in another

Richard Todd is referred to as a Cameronian and but dressed as a Cameron Highlander in the ‘Hasty Heart’. Both regiments had battalions in Burma where it is set.

Made-up Regiments

Caledonian Highlanders - Film ‘Bonnie Scotland’ Laurel & Hardy. Uniform based on Black Watch and Camerons

Spofforth Highlanders - Film ‘The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer’. The Colonel of the Regiment, Julian Glover, is bribed to steal the Swiss gold reserves for Britain to avoid amalgamation. Can’t remember uniform details (Camerons?)

Third Foot and Mouth - Film ‘Carry-on Up the Khyber’ – Uniformed as Camerons

Un-named Highland Regiments

Film ‘Tunes of Glory’ - Uniformed as Camerons. (Regiment in book based on Gordon Highlanders. See also the book George McDonald Fraser’s ‘The General Danced at Dawn’ which has characters very obviously based on the same real life people as Kennoway’s ‘Tunes of Glory’)

TV Series ‘The Avengers’. Episode from 1st series ‘Esprit de Corps’. Duncan MacRae. Roy Kinnear, John Thaw. 1960s Jacobites in Camerons uniform.

Film ‘The Amorous Prawn’ hard up General uses his HQ as a Country house hotel. Camerons? turn up at the end.

Film ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ – Song & Dance scene in Portobello Road. Uniform of government tartan kilt, Black Watch bonnet badge (Not hackle).

TV Pathologist Series from early 1990’s. Officer Presiding at a Court martial. QOHldrs glengarry with a thistle badge. Couldn’t identify kilt.

Film ‘You Must be Joking’ – Several military / secret service folk are set some tasks around London to assess their suitability for a mission. Lionel Jeffries as Sgt. Maj. McGregor turns up in Full Dress including feather bonnet. Argyll uniform?

Others

I have a feeling that Alexander Korda had a Highland regiment in his Sudan shots in ‘The Four Feathers’. This story has been remade several times and pretty much all of them re-used Korda’s footage so there may well be several more films with these Highlanders in them.

I’m not sure that ‘Young Winston’ has some Highlanders in the Battle of Omdurman scenes but it has been many years since I have seen that film so can’t be sure. The Seaforths and Camerons were both involved in this Campaign. In the same film Edward Woodward plays an officer in the Boer War train derailment scene. In real life Churchill was travelling with Royal Dublin Fusiliers but in the film I’m pretty sure the officer had a helmet flash of the Douglas tartan of the Cameronians.

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