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29 October 2014
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Fighting the War - a landmark documentary series for BBC TWO

In the wake of a conflict that has divided world opinion, BBC TWO reveals the inside story of the British campaign in the Gulf in a landmark documentary series.

Fighting the War

Fighting the War chronicles the conflict in Iraq through personal accounts of the war and unique access to British servicemen and women in theatre, and senior politicians and defence chiefs in Whitehall.

And for the first time ever, a BBC film crew has gained access to the underground bunker at Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), from which operational commanders co-ordinate the war effort.

The unique access to the military command centre offers remarkable insights behind the campaign:

the fears among Generals that the coalition strategy of using heavy armoury against Iraqi resistance in Basra could lead to another "Stalingrad";

and the concerns in PJHQ that the declaration of war has occurred ahead of schedule, leaving some areas of the military potentially vulnerable.

Following the chain of command from Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon and Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce - through to the soldiers, sailors, marines, pilots and ground crews in the Middle East - Fighting the War records history as it unfolds.

The material, ring-fenced from all news agencies and never before seen, sheds new light on the major incidents and stories from the conflict, offering a candid insight into the reality of modern warfare.

Four hundred hours of exclusive footage from nine film crews - embedded with the British forces in Iraq and following daily developments in London - has been edited into a seven-part series that chronicles events from the declaration of war to the toppling of Saddam.

A total of 31 staff from across the BBC's Documentaries and Contemporary Factual department with experience of conflict situations contributed to the series.

The films follow crew aboard Royal Navy vessels, an RAF Tornado attack squadron as pilots undertake their airborne missions, and witness infantry and tank battalions in action.

They also show the logistics of combat and how support teams get supplies to, and communicate with, soldiers on the battlefield.

The BBC team is led by award-winning documentary maker Neil Grant (Defence of the Realm, The Oklahoma Bomber, Inside Story and Hotel).

"We want to tell the authoritative story of what it's like to be in the front line," he says.

"The documentary is an observational series about what it means to go to war. It focuses on individuals in the war zone and how political decisions affect what happens on the battlefield."

Executive Producer is Simon Ford (The Hunt for Britain's Paedophiles, Rough Justice, MacIntyre Undercover).

He adds: "I believe these films will enrich public debate about the war by taking the viewer behind the scenes and into the heart of the decision-making process, leaving them to judge for themselves whether this was a war worth fighting."

Fighting the War starts on Sunday 15 June at 9.00pm on BBC TWO.

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.



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