'Danny Boy': Drama shows soldier's fight to clear name after Iraq battle

An Iraq veteran has told Forces News a new television drama captures the "emotion" and "fear" of his experiences during the Battle of Danny Boy in Iraq.

'Danny Boy', which airs on 12 May on BBC Two, follows the events surrounding the engagement in May 2004 which sparked a public inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed by British troops.

Brian Wood, played by Anthony Boyle, was serving in the 1st Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment during the battle and, years later, had to clear his name following false accusations mounted by human rights lawyer Phil Shiner.

The inquiry exonerated Brian and his fellow soldiers, while Mr Shiner was later struck off the roll of solicitors for misconduct.

Mr Wood says the drama "absolutely isn't" simply a portrayal of the battle itself, but that he worked closely with the crew to make the conflict scene as realistic as possible.

"I put myself under a lot of pressure because I'm the first person to get wound up if I'm seeing something military on TV and it's not right," he said.

The veteran said he had made sure he would be present for the creation of these scenes before he "signed anything" and ensured the "emotion" and "fear" of the battle was conveyed on screen.

He also tailored some of the weapons and kit props himself, taking them home with him between filming.

Veteran Brian Wood speaks to Forces News.
Veteran Brian Wood speaks to Forces News.

Production was restricted due to COVID-19, although the former soldier said he was still able to add "authenticity" to the movement and behaviours of the actors.

"We were meant to be going out to either Jordan or Cyprus and we just couldn't travel because of it, and we ended up going in a quarry in Watford," he said.

Referencing positive reviews so far, he added: "I just need it to be out now because there's been so much build-up.

"I know there's going to be a lot of eyes on it, I know there's going to be a lot of people wanting to critique it.

"All I know is I've done everything that I possibly could to make it a credible film."

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