Belfast Telegraph

BBC drama slammed by war veteran

Jimmy McGovern's new BBC drama has been criticised by Gulf War veteran Colonel Tim Collins as irresponsible and a "desperate" attempt to "shock".

Accused - penned by the Bafta-winning TV dramatist whose credits include Cracker and The Street - features six prime-time dramas about crime and punishment.

The second episode, which stars Mackenzie Crook as "maverick and bully" Corporal Buckley, sees two friends join the British Army and discover in Afghanistan that not obeying orders has deadly consequences.

Col Collins, who gained worldwide fame for his eve-of-battle address to his men in the Royal Irish Regiment, told the Radio Times that the BBC drama "abjectly fails" the "responsibility test" and "fails the soldiers on the front line".

He told the magazine: "The constant and slightly contrived use of foul and abusive language and the generous lashings of gratuitous violence all add up to a desperate plea to be seen as shocking and cutting edge.

"The actors don't seem convinced of the whole proposition. And I don't blame them. Having served in the British Army for 23 years I can unequivocally say that this has absolutely no basis in ... reality".

Writer McGovern defended Accused, saying: "This episode is a work of fiction and 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."

A BBC spokesman added: "This drama is not an attempt to denigrate the British Army, it simply seeks to examine issues around crime and punishment using a fictional military setting as the backdrop."


From Belfast Telegraph