How bad was it? Check out this review by an anti-war TV critic at Metro:

Let’s nail some colours to the mast. I marched against the war in Iraq and I’m no supporter of British military action in Afghanistan. But even so, it was hard not to feel a knot of revulsion growing in the stomach at the twisted portrayal of the Army that was shoved down our throats in Accused (BBC1).
This was drama, posing as reality, that got the blood boiling but not in the way I’d anticipated. If you were looking for a target market for a story about bullying and brutality in the military, an exposé of a world where pocket dictators get their rocks off victimising vulnerable squaddies, then I’d be it. But writer Jimmy McGovern’s story was so ludicrously one-sided you couldn’t believe a word of it.

Below the fold, reaction from the Army Rumour Service forum. Language warning. [Read More…]

So far…..I’ve seen more sympathetic portrayals of the SS.
It’s toss in every single way.

A load of crap,,,side issue where do they get them fu*kin berets”

£145 A YEAR extorted by the threat of prison or fines to fund the BBC which can produce such slanted and biased programmes and passes them off as for entertainment. On Sunday morning they did such a tremendous job then kick every serviceman in the teeth with what can only be described as s**t

Can I have the last hour of my fcuking life back? Christ that was shat for a drama. Fcuking quality for an RSM hernia session. Love the heli landing pads on everyone’s napper. Where can i get one? Stroll on what a pile of gash. McGovern…..what a useless fecker. WHich spastic directed it? Can no one direct a drama about squaddies & get it right? Its not like the reference material is unavailable.

I switched over after three minutes, just as I saw the first set of dessies and the fuckin’ beret. Second half of Sunderland v Everton wasn’t half bad.

Forget the whole everyone in the army is a cnut etc. What was most terrible about it was the level of writing. A primary school kid could do better. “This is a monkey he puts good soldiers in jail”. Cringeworthy even if i had no knowledge of the armed forces, even if i did think they were all baby eaters i would still be watching that thinking what fucking spastic wrote this

No point in getting outraged,what else did you expect from the B.B.C.?Did you expect fairness?Honesty?We’re all old enough to know better,if the B.B.C.can stiff anyone or thing even perceived as being British,patriotic,or faintly right wing they’ll do it.As far as the B.B.C.are concerned,the world is pink to red.

thought the whole thing was a bag of tosh except the high quality beret shaping.

“the monkey was rat arsed sarge. cpl buckley had to restrain him. thats how he came across his injuries sarge…” with dialogue like that the beeb must have knew they were on a winner. cant think of a worse actor to play a soldier than mckenzie crook. he’s looks like a litgtle weasel at the best of times but its even worse when hes in a uniform

i think even soldier soldier was better than this crap

Just watched the programme and TBH JM who is capable of a lot better has let himself and everyone else down was dreadful

I want to join that army so I can ponce about tents all day with a dodgy goatee beard.

What a load of old tosh. I don’t know what was harder to believe the RMP travelling without a wpn, helmet or Body Armour or the fact he got filled in by Gareth from the office.
Further incredulation when the father decided to pull the body out of the coffin and go all CSI on the sitting room table.

Thought it was ok until about 3 minutes in when they were given the option of ‘go to prison or join the army’
Because we all know thats why everyone joins…

Whoever within Auntie approved this series should be ashamed and embarrassed to have this sub-standard material aired at all!

There’s a bunch of people for whom it’s an article of faith that the Army is somewhere between the films ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘The Hill’. Those in their 50s also watched ‘Apocalypse Now’ and have managed to work that into their stereotype. They believe we are all violent, racist, bullying half-wits who had to join the Army rather than go to prison, and that our officers are universally chinless public-school types who only work the odd hour in between hunting, fishing and shooting expeditions. These stereotypes have developed through conversations at middle class dinner parties over decades, and they’re not about to change in a hurry. So it doesn’t matter how much we complain about wholescale inaccuracy or hold up ‘Values and Standards’, because they know they’re right, and the exceptions only prove the rule.

There’s no point in trying to change their minds, because it isn’t going to happen. So perhaps we should just let them continue living in their Alice in Wonderland world, and get on with what we do. They don’t really affect us apart from writing/broadcasting rather silly and mildly offensive TV programmes every now and again, so we could just ignore them without it leading to the end of the world.

I saw 10 minutes of this programme and turned over because it was crap. I think the only people who will have watched it and believed it aren’t going to change their views, but don’t actually matter, anyway. Wheeling out the outrage bus only encourages them to imagine there must be smoke behind fire. To coin a phrase ‘leave them, mate – they’re not worth it’.

There is a complaints section on the BBC website.
Go for it!

Do any of you think that the BBC will give a flying fuck about your opinion?

That last observation is spot on judging by Jana Bennett’s response on Today this morning.

UPDATE 13.30. Here’s the Telegraph’s David Hughes on Bennett’s “embarrassing” effort on the Today programme. (£517,000!)

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26 Responses to Accused

  1. John Anderson says:

    Jana Bennett – overpaid “Head of Vision” whatever that means – was BBC arrogance at its most vivid this morning.  She did not give one gramme of credence to the complaints,  dismissed the whole matter out of hand. And refused twice to deal with the interviewer’s argument that SOME people clearly saw the play as a docu-drama and wholly believed it.



    OT – here’s an American journalist tearing Katty Kay apart -and by implication contradicting virtually all BBC “reporting” from the US :


  2. sue says:

    Ha! I’ve commented on this programme already, but I just wanted to say again how overrated these programmes are.
    Not just the Accused series, but  Panorama, drama in general, and obviously, the BBC’s news coverage.

    Jimmy McGovern is a man with a certain viewpoint, but one that seems a bit hackneyed and out of date.
    The TV crit in the Telegraph has mentioned some of the weaknesses in the production, but he comes down on the side of the BBC in the debate about whether this was a gratuitous slur on the army. He thought not. He said the bullying scenario could have been set in any other situation. Well, yes, so it could. So why set in in the army?
    Both episodes of the Accused have had major production flaws, and I was shocked to hear on Today R4 that people have been tweeting that they found this play credible.


  3. hippiepooter says:

    A good interview with Jana Bennett by whoever it was on the TODAY programme.  I felt her obscene metropolitan humbug did come wafting over the airwaves to nausify the nostrils of any half-decent people listening.  General Dannant I thought spoke well in condemning the programme being interviewed by Sarah Montague.  He didn’t let himself be distracted on whether he agreed with Col Tim Collins opinion or not that ‘the BBC has an agenda’, he just expressed his revulsion for putting such filth out while our soldiers are at war.


  4. Phil says:

    The TV critic of the Metro has no right to complain about The Accused being rammed down his or anyone else’s throat. Nobody is forced to watch any of the BBC’s vast outpouring of drossy drama.

    In a free country there’s nothing wrong with a politically motivated, convinced otf their own cleverness, socially unrepresentative,  overgrown student style, middle class home counties clique offering their trashy, soap opera style tellydramas for public persusal.

    But there is something wrong in forcing the public to pay for them whether they want to or not. That’s what the critic should be complaining about.

    Scrap the licence fee.


  5. Craig says:

    Yes, a very slippery performance from Jana Bennett.

    As well as the example John cited above, she also refused (twice) to answer Evan Davis’s question about whether she personally thought this sort of thing really does go on in the army.

    Then she tried to ignore his question about why, if it’s just “a piece of fiction”, a helpline number was provided at the end.

    Evan, to his credit, then put it again and got this waffle: “That was in case people felt they wanted to talk about anything that they might see as an issue. I don’t think we were trying to… be able to respect the audience might want to phone us about a programme, or tweet us for that matter. And, of course, we’re happy if there a a thought-provoking piece.  I think that’s very different from suggesting that we were saying this was a documentary-drama”.


    • Craig says:

      That David Hughes piece (which DB provides in his update) ends with the words, “Surely we deserve something more coherent from the Director of Vision.”

      Oddly, his transcription of her words makes her sound more coherent than she actually was. He transforms “And, of course, we’re happy if there a a thought-provoking piece” into “We are happy if there’s a debate about this thought-provoking piece.” How kind of him to tidy her words up, and spare her a few more blushes!

      Even tidied up, her statement is, as he writes, “straight out of the corporation’s management-speak manual.”


    • canon alberic says:

      The interview repays analysis. She is addressing Evan (who once again demonstrated an encouraging but alas inconsistent independence) on what sounds like a speaker phone no doubt in an office the size of Luxembourg with her groom of the licencepayers handbag (one of her expenses claims last year) and an army of terrified minions. 

      She only speaks in coherent english at the very beginning when she is clearly reading from a script or press release; once she is challenged and compelled to justify her position, and most shockingly to her not simply allowed to get away with giving an evasive answer and moving on (as a labour politician would have been), she absolutely goes to bits.  Accidentally revealing that as well as being arrogant and deceitful she is also profoundly stupid and only marginally literate.

      Apparently she could get a similar job anywhere and we are lucky to have her on such a modest salary….


  6. Martin says:

    I would not have had aproblem with this if the BBC also did one where Muslims for once were portrayed as blood thirsty killers who are willing to murder anyone for their aims.

    Fat chance at the BBC for that.


  7. Dr A says:

    The interview with La Bennet was infuriating – arrogant, overpaid, tendentious, nasty cow! – but what really struck me was the way Evan Davies allowed her to finish her sentences without interruption.

    Mustn’t show rudeness to the bosses, must we? Revealing the BBC for the cowardly, nepotistic, self-regarding racket that it is. Yech.


    • hippiepooter says:

      Dr A, this simply isn’t true.  She patently set about evading his question if she thinks things like this go on in the army and he didn’t hold back in cutting in in on her to get an answer.  I personally thought it was a very good interview.  He didn’t do her any favours.


      • Dr A says:

        You make a good point. It’s true that Davies did ask some tough questions and you’re right, I am probably exaggerating the negatives. But there was a civility about th exchange in which Queen Jana was allowed to dissimulate the seconds away… and Davies was either too gentlemanly or too subservient to stop her.


  8. David Preiser (USA) says:

    A reminder of a comment from “Guest” (possibly ScottM?) the other day about criticisms here about the programme:

    Firstly, one usually has to have *seen* (or in this case ‘watched’)something in order to have a *valid* opinion on it.  
    “…running down the British Army with invented portrayals…”  
    So bullying *never* *actually* occurs in the British Army? Really?  
    Thirdly, it is a work of FICTION and not a Documentary!!

    It’s not a documentary, not meant to be taken seriously, according to “Guest”, but it turns out there’s an anti-bullying help line promoted at the end.  This is why I use the term “defender of the indefensible”.


    • hippiepooter says:

      If memory serves, the anti-bullying hotline number never got mentioned at the end of reports about Gordon Brown’s bullying – oh, hold on, wait a minute, they set about doing a hatchet job on a woman who runs an anti-bullying hotline who wanted people to call.  
      Could it be, could it be, that the BBC were gagging to get some good muck to spread about Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in combat?  Tempting to ring the number with some cock and bull story and see if it gets percolated through to the BBC.  
      Warden:  Dont you know there’s a war on?!  
      BBC:  Yes, we’re fighting it for the enemy.


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        Funny you should say that, hippie, but the Peter Mandelson celebration…sorry…”The Real PM?” special featured a voice-over mentioning just that.

        The bit started at about 25min. in, and it was following a segment about how Blair got the Party leadership basically because the trade unions sided with him.  The bit began with a voice-over of someone from the help line saying that people who worked closely with Gordon Brown (as PM at the time) had called the help line.  There’s a minute or so of less interesting stuff about Mandelson defending him, but then there is talk about him throwing phones, etc.  Not a pretty picture.

        Of course, the whole thing was to set up the next Act, where they were presenting Mandelson as the man who was Labour’s crisis manager, and saved the Party at times, and especially as the man who saved Mr. Brown.  It wasn’t very flattering to Mr. Brown at all.

        Actually, the BBC did mention the Help Line back when the founder of the National Bullying Help Line let it be known that some of Mr. Brown’s staff had called them up for help, and even linked to their website.  Curiously, the eight month-old piece was updated only yesterday.  I wonder why?

        But after all this, pass the sick bag as the interviewer is asking Mandelson why he “loves” Gordon Brown.  He gives some pretty weak-ass answers, then goes way off script and asks, “Can we stop there?”  Give points to the editor for leaving it in, and I really can’t tell if the Beeboid asked him the question in that tone of voice because she was trying to get him to support Mr. Brown or show up how Mandelson is two-faced.  Job done if it’s the latter.


    • Dez says:

      Where did “Guest” say it’s “not meant to be taken seriously”?


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        Dez, it was part where he said FICTION.


        • Dez says:

          Shakespeare is FICTION. You think that’s the same as saying it’s not to be taken seriously? Duh.


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            Dez, are you saying that a comment written to contradict a statement that this film was intended to suggest to the public that the Army was full of bullies and that people should seek help actually said that this film was meant to portray the Army as being full of bullies and that people should seek help?


  9. Roxana Cooper says:

    The BBC’s way of observing Armistice Day I presume. Here in  the States the MSM forgets its anti-military attitudes for one day. Of course the next they’re back to dissing anything in uniform but at least they pretend respect for that one day.


  10. D B says:

    The BBC does its duty on occasions of remembrance but beyond that it views our military – which is currently at war, lest we forget – as a rich vein of evil to be mined by the correct-thinking creative visionaries who operate under the overpaid purview of Jana Bennett, Director of Vision. Fuck them. Fuck them all.


  11. Dez says:

    “TV critic at Metro” LOL!


  12. Grant says:

    Can we expect a BBC drama about bullying in the Russian or Chinese Armies ?


  13. Limbal Smethwick says:

    Of course this pile of excrement was meant to be anti Armed Forces.  Just look at the facts

    1. It’s written by a reknown lefty
    2. Said lefty has been reported on a number of occations as being against the Iraq War.
    3. The content was uniformly anti-Army.
    4.  It’s the BBC!

    If they wanted to do a piece of drama about bullying why didn’t they choose a school or an office?  Why didn’t they do something about Alistair Campbell?

    Because they hate the Army.

    Why do they hate the Army?  Because the USSR told them to and they still hang onto that hate 20 years later.