Belfast Telegraph

BBC drama shot down by Iraq war hero Tim Collins

Northern Ireland’s most famous soldier — Colonel Tim Collins — has criticised an episode of a BBC1 drama set on the front line as irresponsible and a “desperate” attempt to “shock”.

Accused, by Bafta-winning Jimmy McGovern, consists of six prime-time dramas on crime and punishment.

The second episode, starring Mackenzie Crook as “maverick and bully” Corporal Buckley, sees two friends join the British Army and head to Afghanistan.

Col Collins, who gained global fame for his eve-of-battle address to his men in the Royal Irish Regiment before the invasion of Iraq, criticised the episode, to be shown next Monday, for “generous lashings of gratuitous violence” and “constant and slightly contrived use of foul and abusive language”.

Col Collins, who retired from the Army in 2004, told the Radio Times the drama “abjectly fails” the “responsibility test” and “fails the soldiers on the frontline”.

Viewers saw “non-commissioned officers run a camp that has more in common with Second World War Japan than modern-day Afghanistan”, he said.

“Having served in the British Army for 23 years, I can unequivocally say that this has absolutely no basis in ... reality”.

Jimmy McGovern said: “It is not my intention to slur British soldiers, for whom I have the greatest respect.”

Belfast Telegraph

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