One of the most famous roles for Jerome was in 1990 in the hit TV show Soldier, Soldier. It was this series that brought him together with Robson Green – a partnership that eventually led to the show’s most recognisable double-act, and would bring fame and fortune in other ventures. Jerome and Robson shared the same hotel and they spoke to each other for the first time in a taxi.
Jerome recalls how the more they got to know each other, the more difficult it was to keep a straight face and act responsibly. “In one scene with the two of us and Robson, the camera turned to Holly for the reverse shot, but we just couldn’t keep it together and had to be sent out of the room. Holly acted the scene on her own with the director reading our lines. We were waiting outside, in disgrace.”
Jerome played the part of Lance Corporal Paddy Garvey – married to Corporal Nancy Thorpe who was a military police women played by Holly Aird (who had never charged or arrested anyone!) She was very much in love with the highly unsuitable Paddy, who once had to serenade her with the song Danny Boy.
Both Jerome and Robson were enjoying the work and the relationships they were striking up with the other actors around them, even though they were both convinced the series would be a big flop. But the first series screened in 1991 was an instant success with nine million viewers a week, reaching number seven in the ITV ratings. It won the Gold Award at the Houston International Film Festival for the best drama series. The chemistry between Paddy and Tucker was fast becoming a main focus of the show. So much so that a special video was released featuring highlights of their exploits, which became a great seller.
While the first series was filmed in Staffordshire, England, production would move to other countries as “The King’s Fusiliers” received postings around the world. Jerome was delighted: it was an opportunity to continue to work with Robson, and to travel and explore.
Soldier Soldier – Series 1. With a six month tour of duty in Northern Ireland behind them, the officers and men of the King’s Fusiliers Infantry Regiment look forward to an emotional return to their Midlands’ headquarters. Major Tom Cadman, the Company Commander, has to deal with a military problem which results in his judgement being called into question and Corporal Tony Wilton has pressing worries of his own – will he get back in time to see the birth of his first child?
When Major Tom Cadman is pitched against a rival officer in the Regiment’s inter-company manoeuvres, he discovers the stakes are far higher than winning the war games. His arch rival Major ‘Dickie’ Bird is having an affair with his wife Laura – leaving Cadman to fight for his honour on the battle field and the home front. Meanwhile, Laura Cadman faces the biggest decision of her life – to stay with her husband or to go with the womanising Dickie Bird, who has shown her affection and attention at a lonely time. However, a hazardous night crossing through a freezing river and a gruelling assault course keep the men’s minds far from domestic problems.
The company deputise for dustmen on strike. Chick Henwood has to choose between duty to his men or loyalty to his family. Tony Wilton’s marriage hits a rocky stage putting his boxing career before his wife and new-born baby. Wilton and his wife celebrate their son’s christening. Freddie Lewis suspects Chick Henwood is having an affair with his wife.
When Major Tom Cadman is pitched against a rival officer in the Regiment’s inter-company manoeuvres, he discovers the stakes are far higher than winning the war games. His arch rival Major ‘Dickie’ Bird is having an affair with his wife Laura – leaving Cadman to fight for his honour on the battle field and the home front. Meanwhile, Laura Cadman faces the biggest decision of her life – to stay with her husband or to go with the womanising Dickie Bird, who has shown her affection and attention at a lonely time. However, a hazardous night crossing a freezing river and a gruelling assault course keep the men’s minds far from domestic problems. A large amount of equipment in the care of Ian Anderson goes missing at the same time that he wins a commissson into the Intelligence CorpsIn 1992 Soldier, Soldier Series II was set in Hong Kong – with a move in 1993 to New Zealand & Germany for Series III. However, all this travel didn’t stop Jerome from being able to return to England and appear in the TV drama Between The Lines. His role was the lover of Lesley Vicarage, who also was a Soldier, Soldier regular, playing 2nd Lieutenant Kate Butler.
Series IV saw the Fusiliers move to Cyprus, with the cast having a hotel to themselves next to the sea. Jerome took full advantage of the facilities; swimming, sunbathing and singing old Elvis and Beatles numbers with Robson. To amuse themselves they decided that, if desperate, they could make an album called “Ling Along With Rob and Rome”.
However, Episode 9 entitled Band of Gold proved a turning point regarding this. The episode called for Paddy and Tucker to sing at a wedding reception for their CO, after the band that had been booked failed to turn up. The only song screened was Unchained Melody, but it was enough to have viewers wanting more..!
The 1994 UK viewing figures had climbed to 16.1 million – an extraordinary 65% of the viewing share. Series V was set in Australia, UK & South Africa. By this time both Jerome and Robson were proving to be popular as individuals rather than just as Paddy and Tucker, and their attentions turned to other projects. They left the series after appearing in 41 episodes.