Soldier and Me

1974 | United Kingdom

Tense children's drama about two young boys on the run from would-be assassins who are plotting the execution of Czech dissidents in the wake of the 1968 revolt that led to Russia's occupation of their country. 

Local lad Jim Woolcott and Istvan Szolda - who is nicknamed Soldier by Jim in a mispronunciation of his name, overhear a gang plotting a murder and go straight to the police, but they are not believed. They follow the gang but are unable to stop them and then become witnesses to the deed. Worse still, they are spotted by the gang's leader who instructs his three henchmen to silence the boys. There ensues an epic chase through Manchester, Stockport, across the Pennines and the Lake District involving obstacles such as crossing stormy lakes and jumping from moving trains in as the boys attempt to shake off their pursuers. 

The story was told across nine episodes and was adapted, from his original 1966 novel (Run For Your Life), by David Line (the pseudonym of thriller writer Lionel Davidson), the difference being that in the original the circumstances that led to the dissidents plot was the Hungarian revolution some ten years earlier. The change of background was suggested by series producer Brian Armstrong who had covered the Czech revolution for World In Action, and who had risked life and limb to smuggle news footage out of Prague under the noses of the Russian occupiers.

Published on January 31st, 2019. Written by Noel Onely for Television Heaven.