Is Military Wives based on a true story? Gareth Malone’s real-life choir behind the hit film

28 February 2020, 15:52

Military Wives is out in cinemas on March 6 - here is the real story behind it...

New film Military Wives is the movie version of the hit musical, described as “an inspirational story of friendship, love, and support on the home front”.

The story follows Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Horgan) as they form a choir of women whose partners are serving in Afghanistan.

While the choir originally begins as a club to help distract the ladies, it ultimately gives them the support they need to get through worrying about loved ones fighting abroad.

But as the film hits the cinema, here’s the true story behind it…

Is Military Wives based on a true story?

While the characters and specific storyline of Military Wives is largely fictional, the 2020 film is based on choirmaster Gareth Malone’s choir of the same name.

The real Military Wives choir with Gareth Malone (2012)
The real Military Wives choir with Gareth Malone (2012). Picture: PA Images

Originally started in 2010, it began at the Royal Marines Base Chivenor with the hope of bringing together the partners of members of the armed forces deployed in Afghanistan.

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The real-life Military Wives Choir featured in the fourth season of Gareth’s series, The Choir and the women went on to release the single ‘Wherever You Are’.

This made it all the way to Christmas No.1 in 2011, selling over 500,000 copies in just one week.

The Military Wives Choir has since grown into 74 choirs involving 2,300 women in the UK and in British military bases across the world.

The Military Wives attended the premiere of the film
The Military Wives attended the premiere of the film. Picture: PA Images

The Military Wives Choirs website states: “Research shows that singing in a choir helps to alleviate stress and contributes to an improvement in isolation, anxiety and depression.”

“[The choirs] therefore have a vital role to play by bringing women in the military community together to sing, share and support one another.”

Who’s in the cast of Military Wives?

The two main characters are played by Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan.

Kristin has the role of Kate, the wife of a colonel serving in Afghanistan, and Sharon plays Lisa who helps her form and lead a choir of women.

It also stars Greg Wise, Jason Flemyng, Emma Lowndes, Gaby French, Lara Rossi , Amy James-Kelly and India Ria Amarteifio.

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Military Wives stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan
Military Wives stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan. Picture: Lionsgate

While not in the cast, Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers wrote a song for the film, after being approached by producers.

Speaking about the song, Robbie and Guy said: "It's always a joy to work together on new music, and we're thrilled that our new song will be featured in this special film. We're really proud of the track and can't wait for you all to hear it."

The production team added: "Over the last few months, Kristin, Sharon and our hugely talented ensemble cast have put their hearts and voices into telling this tale, which demonstrates how a community of strong women can come together and literally change lives.

"Having Robbie and Guy collaborate with us on the original music, which is so essential to the journey of these characters, is truly exciting."

When is Military Wives released in cinemas?

Military Wives is out in UK cinemas on 6 March 2020.