He was then posted on a two-year tour to Northern Ireland.
Subsequently, returning to the UK in January 2006 to prepare for his second operational tour in Afghanistan.
The series aired on Paramount Television from January to July 1996.
Francis' second television role was as Barry Gibson, a music paparazzo, featured on the early series of Channel 4's Popworld.
His Commanding Officer said "Corporal Thorpe was a highly motivated, talented and tremendously popular soldier who constantly inspired those around him whatever the situation.
"They think I'm a lunatic in real life and I'm probably going to hump their leg," he explains.That prize might go to a wild-eyed, foul-mouthed Michael Jackson who jive talks like James Brown, or to a gruff, hairy ex-Spice Girl, Mel B, who complains about her piles - or maybe to a painfully bland Craig David, the not-so-cool soul singer who goes everywhere with a pet kestrel and speaks in a thick Yorkshire accent. What must have happened to someone in his formative years to dream up something as odd as Britney Spears as a beer-swilling Geordie or a sweet little bear in NHS specs who cannot hide his sexual excitement when interviewing young pop stars?But today, here is the man who plays them all, taking a break from finishing off his new series in a central London editing suite, and finally explaining himself. In fact, we have the extreme oddness of it all to thank for Francis's decision to unmask himself.Before making his major television breakthrough, he was discovered and encouraged by television presenter Davina Mc Call, performing in-role stand-up comedy in a southern comedy club.Mc Call landed Francis his first television role on Dom and Kirk's Nite O' Plenty, where he portrayed Bobby Stark, a man who gives tips on how to win over the ladies.