MP slams BBC Afghan troops drama
An MP has tabled a Commons motion attacking the BBC for broadcasting a TV drama which he claimed denigrated the bravery and professionalism of servicemen and women at a time when thousands are deployed in Afghanistan.
Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for the garrison town of Colchester, Essex, accused the BBC of "a deplorable lack of judgment" in showing the play, Accused, by writer Jimmy McGovern, which depicts bullying by British troops in Afghanistan.
He criticised BBC director-general Mark Thompson for failing to agree to a formal request not to broadcast the programme by chief of the defence staff General Sir Peter Wall.
Sir Peter described it as being "deeply offensive" and "distasteful" to those serving in Afghanistan. He added that the drama was "misleading and inaccurate".
Mr Russell, who has twice visited British troops serving in Helmand Province, called on the Government "to lodge a formal protest with the BBC for its denigration of the bravery and professionalism of members of HM armed forces, particularly at a time when thousands of them are deployed on active service in Afghanistan".
The BBC has defended the programme, which was broadcast on Monday evening.
A spokeswoman said: "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."
McGovern has also stood by his script, saying he had "the greatest respect" for British troops and it was not his intention to slur British soldiers.