February 1

The Queen’s Cavalry

This four part series is scheduled to be shown in Australia on the Biography Channel,  Foxtel Channel 115 on Sundays at 6:30 pm from 1 February until 22 February.  It is to be repeated on Saturday 7 February at 2:00 pm. The BBC’s programme notes follow.

Whether on horseback parade or patrolling downtown Basra in tanks, the Household Cavalry lives to serve the Queen. History, tradition and royalty are the mainstays of Britain's oldest and most senior military regiment.

The Queen's Cavalry offers unprecedented behind the scenes access to the fascinating world of the regiment's ceremonial and military duty and insight into its 350 year history. This 4-part documentary series introduces viewers to the real stars of The Queen's Cavalry – nearly 250 horses that serve the Queen.

Based in central London, the horses are stabled at Knightsbridge Barracks, a constant hive of ceremonial activity. Viewers will get an inside look at the painstaking effort, humour and anguish that goes into staging the major cavalry parades that are a time-honoured tradition in Britain.

Ninety-five percent of all Household Cavalry Troopers have never ridden before they join the regiment. The series follows rookies through riding school, arguably the army's toughest course and definitely a school of hard knocks! In just 16 weeks, the school transforms these 18 year-old 'sacks of spuds' into accomplished troopers riding in full state kit – jackboots, plumed helmet and sword. 

The Queen's Cavalry uses the men of the Household Cavalry to tell their own stories of war and tradition. Often funny, candid and dramatic, the series is an illuminating look at an extraordinary mix of men, animals and weaponry combined in one unique regiment. 

While the Household Cavalry Regiment is deployed with armoured vehicles on military operations, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment performs ceremonial roles on horseback and is tasked with protecting the Queen as her official bodyguards.

The cavalry, comprising the Lifeguards and the Blues and Royals, has been at the forefront of military operations for Britain, on duty with the UN in Bosnia and Kosovo and more recently in Iraq.

Prince Harry served with  the Blues and the Royals.

 

 Episode Listing 

The Big Event

Consisting of two contrasting halves, the fighting side and the ceremonial side; Britain's most senior regiment has guarded the monarch for over 350 years. In this episode, the combined mounted regiment, the Life Guards and the Blues & Royals, practice ceremonial duty in Hyde Park in preparation for the State Opening of Parliament. The competition heats up as the two squadrons on ceremonial duty battle it out to prove they have the best turned out troopers, even if their horses have other ideas. Others training for battle strive to make the grade, and gain a promotion. And the Cavalry's new recruits, struggle to stay in the saddle on their first day of riding school.

Just Another Day

This time on The Queen's Cavalry, the two roles of the Household Cavalry – guarding the Queen, and armoured warfare. But are both sides failing to make the grade? The armoured regiment takes a wrong turn and tours a local village in a tank. And during inspection, Trooper Bass is in trouble when he tries to take a dirty horse on parade. Finally, the new troopers don their breastplates and riding spurs and prepare for their very first royal duty

Cavalry Black

Even in the 21st century, the household cavalry is best known for its work on horseback. This episode looks at some of the famous horses of the past and follows its newest equine recruit, Freddy. In a remarkable display of horsemanship and friendly persuasion, Freddy is ridden for the very first time. In contrast, the training of the human recruits is less gentle – learner tank drivers are put through some extreme tests as they train to drive for war. The cameras go behind the scenes at the biggest parade of the year – The Queen's Birthday Celebrations. And the honeymoon is definitely over for the 12 new recruits learning to ride.

Passing Out

In the final episode of The Queen's Cavalry; gunners of the armoured regiment go to school with fiery consequences. And the Cavalry looks back to the cold steel of Waterloo and the regiment remembers fallen comrades from the Second World War.As the ceremonial season draws to a close, Knightsbridge finds itself on high alert as London faces a horrific subway bombing. And finally, the 12 new recruits who've spent four months in the riding school pass out in front of their parents.


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