24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 02:56

BBC drama offensive to British troops, says Army head

Category: England

Published: 21st Nov 2010 04:05:37

The head of the British army has complained to the BBC about a drama showing bullying among troops in Afghanistan, calling it "deeply offensive to all those serving".

Sir Peter Wall has written to BBC director general Mark Thompson about the programme, Accused, said the MoD.

The episode features a corporal who bullies two friends who join the army, one of whom goes on to commit suicide.

The BBC said it was in no way an attempt to denigrate the Army.

The writer of the series, Bafta-winning TV dramatist Jimmy McGovern, has said that Accused is a work of fiction and that he had the greatest respect for British soldiers.

McGovern, who also created Cracker and The Street, said: "As a dramatist, I was interested in exploring how soldiers have to be at a certain mindset to kill.

"It is not my intention to slur British soldiers, for whom I have the greatest respect. At the heart of the drama is my belief in the sanctity of life."

There are fears that those watching it will believe this is what is really happening to their loved ones”

The episode is one of a six-part series following different people accused of crimes as they await the verdict of their trials. It stars Mackenzie Crook as a bullying corporal.

The Ministry of Defence said Sir Peter, the Chief of the General Staff, believed the episode was offensive to both troops and their families.

A spokesman said: "There are fears that those watching it will believe this is what is really happening to their loved ones.

"We have asked the BBC to make it clear that this is a fictitious programme, is not accurate and that the Army has nothing to do with making it."

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that Mr Thompson had received a critical letter from Sir Peter and had responded, but would not release the director general's reply.

She said: "In the promotion of this new drama series... it has been made clear that Accused is a work of fiction.

"It is in no way an attempt to denigrate the servicemen and women of the British Army."

Last week prominent 2003 Iraq war veteran Colonel Tim Collins said the drama "fails the soldiers on the front line" and "abjectly fails the responsibility test".

Col Collins gained worldwide recognition for the eve-of-battle speech he gave his men in the Royal Irish Regiment in March 2003.

The decorated soldier, who retired from the Army in 2004, attacked the episode for its "gratuitous violence" and use of "foul and abusive language".

"There is no point to Accused except to try to shock," he told the Radio Times.

Best known as the creator of crime drama Cracker, McGovern has also written dramas about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and the Bloody Sunday shootings of 1972.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. BBC drama offensive to British troops, says Army head [Online] (Updated 21st Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/109659/BBC-drama-offensive-to-British-troops-says-Army-head [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Nellie Herriot: Disappearance two years on still a mystery

    The disappearance of a 96-year-old woman with Alzheimer's two years ago remains "really frustrating and very upsetting", her great-nephew has said.
  • Dumfries hosts two international curling competitions

    Two major curling competitions are under way in Dumfries just a couple of months after Scottish competitors scooped medals at the Winter Olympics.
  • Michael Phelps: Olympic swimmer set for competitive return

    Eighteen-time US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps says concerns about weight gain were behind his decision to return to the sport.
  • Actress Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • 'Friendly' drone on dog leash takes off

    Drones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.