Smile-Raising, But Not Wholly Impressive – ‘Bluestone 42’ Review

Set in a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan, and following the day-to-day lives of British soldiers, BBC3’s Bluestone 42 began on Tuesday night and, while making me smile a little, didn’t impress me quite as much as it did other critics.


The thinking behind Bluestone 42 (written by James Cary and Richard Hurst – both part of the Miranda team) seems to be, ‘Imagine if our troops included these reckless idiots!’ And that’s one of the few things I like about this program: it isn’t out to mock the war, nor our troops. Instead, it is presenting slightly foolish characters who could be put into almost any situation – it just so happens that they’re fighting in Afghanistan.

So, the characters themselves I do like. Lynda Bird (the bawdy corporal, most commonly known by her surname) extracted titters from me – which perhaps says more about my humour than it does the character herself. I was also intrigued by Oliver Chris as Capatin Nick Medhurst, owing to his strong likeness to Prince William (although it may only be me who noticed the resemblance). Aside from these two and perhaps Major Mary Greenstock, the other characters were good but didn’t shine. Perhaps they will in future weeks.


The main problem I have with Bluestone 42 is that it has been called a ‘comedy drama’. If the first episode is anything to go by, this is not a ‘comedy drama’. Frustratingly, Bluestone 42 seems to have joined shows such as Being Eileen, Starlings and Walking & Talking in being given this title simply because they know that, if it is described as a ‘comedy’, people will complain that there aren’t enough jokes in it to justify its label. They are therefore seen in the same light as genuine comedy dramas like Stella and Mount Pleasant, both of which beautifully concoct mirthful and moving scenes – unlike its masquerading counterparts, which include very little drama at all. It may be too early to judge (being, as we are, only a sixth of the way into the series) but it seems at the moment that there is little ‘dramatic’ about this show.

It didn’t wow me, it didn’t impress me – in fact it seldom made me laugh – but Bluestone 42 did make me want to find out more about its characters and their relationships with each other. Perhaps I’ll have another look next Tuesday to see how it develops…

Bluestone 42 is on Tuesdays at 10:00pm on BBC3

What did you think of Bluestone 42? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer

You can also see my recommendations for the coming week’s TV on my YouTube channel.


3 thoughts on “Smile-Raising, But Not Wholly Impressive – ‘Bluestone 42’ Review

  1. Andrew says:

    Enjoyed the review – you have summed it up well. I’m going to be more generous to it, simply because it’s (a) different and (b) not ‘Miranda’.

  2. Rachel says:

    Had blackadder goes forth was aired during ww2 I doubt it would have been quite so popular. It’s only long after the war ended that it became so poignant. The war in Afghanistan is still going on and it’s an insult to those serving out there now, those who are recovering in headly court and the grieving families. Way too soon BBC

  3. […] BBC3 comedy drama Bluestone 42 comes to BBC1 (10:35pm) – read my review of the first episode here; and Kerry Howard stars in her own sketch show pilot, the imaginatively titled Kerry, on BBC3 at […]

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