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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
'Amarillo' soldiers hail response
Staff Sgt Parr (centre) with two colleagues

The three soldiers responsible for a spoof video of the song (Is This The Way To) Amarillo have welcomed the "fantastic" response to their efforts.

Troops in the Royal Dragoon Guards shot a video at their Al Faw base, in Iraq, of their version of the video sung by Tony Christie and mimed by Peter Kay.

They e-mailed it to Army friends in London, but the MoD server crashed because so many tried to download it.

Among those to praise their efforts has been Defence Secretary John Reid.

Mr Reid paid tribute to the Royal Dragoon Guards when opening the Queen's Speech debate on defence in the Commons on Wednesday.

"Her Majesty's armed forces never cease to amaze me. To be able to carry out such acts of determination, sacrifice and heroism in so many spheres of the world and, at the same time, to be recording hit videos is a measure of the quality of the British Armed Forces," he said.

But despite the praise from on high, the creators say they will now "get down to being normal soldiers".

The role of Kay in the troops' video, called Is This The Way To Armadillo and e-mailed out last Friday, was taken on by Staff Sgt Roger Parr, from Runcorn, Cheshire.

The Dragoon Guards were on a six-month peacekeeping tour when the video was shot with a handheld video camera, and are now back at their base in Munster, Germany.

'Fantastic' response

Sgt Parr was flown in to London to answer questions from the media about the stunt.

He was accompanied by Sgt Andy Stokoe, who came up with the idea, and Captain Mungo Ker, who filmed it.

Staff Sgt Parr, who welcomed the response that the stunt had attracted, said: "It's been fantastic - more than we expected.

"It was just done for the lads and for the welcome home party."

The 34-year-old from Runcorn, Cheshire, said he would have to see if a follow-up might be produced in the future, before adding: "We need to get down to being normal soldiers."

In the spoof Sgt Parr marches through the Iraqi camp mimicking the comedian and summoning up fellow soldiers along the way.

This was really a morale boost - it shows we were doing our job but still had time for a sense of humour
Sgt Andy Stokoe

Sgt Stokoe, who came up with the idea for the stunt, said it had been created to entertain troops who have been stationed in Basra after the song attained anthemic status among soldiers.

"We had six months out there and some of the things we did were very draining mentally and physically," said the 35-year-old from Rochdale, Lancashire, who appeared in the video with a blue towel around his waist.

"This was really a morale boost. It shows we were doing our job but still had time for a sense of humour."

The film was played at a reunion in Germany and was so popular that it was broadcast repeatedly throughout the night.

Tony Christie sang the 1971 record, which became a number one hit this year after it was released for Comic Relief. He has already congratulated the troops on their effort.

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