Thursday, March 20, 2008

Top 10 Days

There are always going to be differences of opinion about the state of television drama. But it certainly says something about the current shows when, over the last couple of weeks, the most intense and exciting material has come in the form of ten to thirteen minute short eatures at the beginning of the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces, Newsnight has aired 10 Days to War, counting down each day as it examines different issues and events that transpired in the run up to the invasion. Researched by the programme journalists, who then handed their material over to playwright Ronan Bennett, the series began a week last Monday with A Simple Private Matter, set behind the scenes in the Foreign Office as lawyer Elizabeth Wilmhurst questions the legality of the war after the failure to get a second resolution, and ended ten days later, on the eve of the invasion with Our Business is North, in which Colonel Tim Collins of the Royal Irish Regiment gives his now-famous speech to rally his troops before setting off from the Kuwait/Iraq border.

In between, the episodes covered Iraq’s religious and political leaders ready to discuss how the country will ultimately be governed, British and American representatives lobbying in the UN for the important second resolution, the recruitment of young radical Islamists for jihad, and the agonizing of backbench MPs when it comes time to vote on whether to go to war or not. Toward the tail end of each edition of Newsnight, the events of that day, five years past, would be picked up on and discussed on a debate with key figures from the time.

If you missed them, and they’ve passed through BBC iPlayer, catch the lot on the 10 Days to War website.


At 10:21 am, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

Great. Thanks for mentioning Iraq.

As if my blood pressure wasn't high enough already.

At 10:05 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

The whole sorry state of affairs out there is a clusterfuck of monumental proportions, but 10 Days to War remains exceptional, especially Collins' speech. And the related material on the Newsnight website is obviously worth knowing.

When the anniversary comes, maybe I'll share my Iraq war story.


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