Danny Boy… Operation Danny Boy…
This is a feature-length drama based on a real-life situation about a platoon of British soldiers who were ambushed in Southern Iraq, and the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment is sent to help them, which includes Lance Corporal Brian Wood (Anthony Boyle).
This is one of those dramas which is very bitty as it jumps about in time. It starts with his platoon going out to help the soldiers, but before we can see any of that, it cuts to Brian on his way to court, then he’s about to get married, and then he’s giving a talk in a lecture about the war… Why can’t it finish one aspect before it moves on to the next?
It also takes about 10 minutes to get started proper, but at that point, Brian’s approached by some army bigwigs who want him to explain photos of dead and injured Iraqis, and based on the evidence, it’s not exactly looking good for him, but is there a reasonable and logical explanation?
Enter investigator Phil Shiner (Toby Jones) who came to the fore before the timeframe of this drama, with a case relating to an Iraqi soldier who Shiner proved sustained 93 injuries whilst in British custody, yet not one British soldier was found guilty.
While that case was just one man being brutalised, a journalist comes to him with proof of 20 Iraqis being injured in the Battle of Danny Boy.
Along the way, we see how war is often a case of ‘kill or be killed’, so everyone is bound to be on edge, but are all kills justified?
However this turns out, the drama shines as a clear example of how the governments of the world don’t look after their veterans when they come back from a warzone.
Overall, without giving any spoilers, Danny Boy is okay as a watch, but it does feel a bit flat in the telling of the story.
As an aside, put the subtitles on because there’s some rather muffled dialogue as people speak too quickly.
And as another, the lead, Anthony Boyle, looks a lot like Matthew Broderick circa Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Danny Boy is on TV tonight at 9pm on BBC2. It’s not available yet to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but after broadcast, it will be each on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Sam Miller
Producer: Simon Lewis
Screenplay: Robert Jones
Brian Wood: Anthony Boyle
Phil Shiner: Toby Jones
Deena Aayari: Kiran Sonia Sawar
Gavin Wood: Alex Ferns
Lucy Wood: Leah McNamara
Stella Marshall: Sarah Niles
Young Brian: Oaklee Pendergast
Bailey Wood: Tommy Finnegan
Rushforth: Spike Leighton
Falconer: Joel Morris
Ellen Chambers: Layo-Christina Akinlude
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.