If you're serving overseas you won't miss out on a brand-new gritty series featuring unprecedented access to the elite Parachute Regiment.
Three-part documentary, The Paras: Men Of War, will air on ITV and BFBS TV channel 3 for military families based overseas at the same time. The next episode will air at 9pm on January 24.
Producers spent 12 months filming all aspects of this closed world which turns raw recruits into elite soldiers who are the first into any conflict.
Across the series, viewers will see young men, many still teenagers, being pushed to the extremes of their endurance and learning vital skills on a brutal 28-week recruitment course to gain the coveted maroon beret.
Private Jack Kojo-Braima said:
“The moment I’m given that rifle and on that plane jumping out into a war-torn country… I’m not going to be able to call my mum and ask her to give me a hug.
"It’s about just growing a pair and getting the job done.”
Only a few of those who join up will make it to the end.
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The Paras: Men Of War will offer a unique perspective and unflinching account of what it takes to make the grade, as well as providing an intimate insight into the characters of the young men and the officers charged with transforming them into battle-ready paratroopers.
In the first programme, 41 recruits start training at Catterick Barracks. Lieutenant Dan Lovegrove explains it can be a tough start for many:
“The first day in training is like a massive shock of capture. You have no idea what’s going on.
"They’ll probably instantly regret their decision but I suppose that’s almost how we want them to be.”
Throughout the series the Paras will talk openly about their experiences both in training and in combat - and reflect on the challenges they face, providing an often disarming and enlightening view into the mindset of the soldiers and the reality of the unique culture of the Paras.
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Just as important as soldiering is personal discipline, as Pte Kojo-Braima is reminded when he is found with a water bottle that is not full. Corporal Ollie Seal says to him:
“What do you mean, ‘They told me it was full?’ It’s your f***ing water bottle, get your weapon above your head.
Lt Lovegrove explains why the recruits are given a rough ride by the staff. He says:
“We cannot be their best friend through training.
"We almost encourage this mentality of us and them, between Joe and the training team because it binds them together as a group, and then they have this sort of enemy.”
The series will follow the recruits who make it into the regiment, filming them up close and personal on their first major assignments as they prepare for new military threats.
The Paras: Men Of War episode two will air January 24 from 9pm on ITV and BFBS TV channel 3 if you're serving overseas