Drama highlights lawyer's pursuit of soldiers accused of Iraqi war crimes

The filming of a new drama about the persecution of British soldiers by Birmingham attorney Phil Shiner on charges of war crimes in Iraq has begun.

BBC Two’s Danny Boy is about a young man’s journey from medal-winning war hero to alleged murderer and his search for the truth.

Anthony Boyle plays the real-life soldier Brian Wood, who was charged with war crimes in Iraq by human rights attorney Shiner, played by Toby Jones.

Shiner founded and ran public-interest attorneys based in the Jewelery Quarter before they closed in 2016.

The two men face each other in an Expectation-instigated legal and moral conflict that takes viewers from the battlefield – at what is known as the Danny Boy checkpoint – to the courtroom, and one of the UK’s largest public investigations, the Al-Waving Inquiry.

The drama explores the impact Brian’s experience has had on not only him but his family as well. These include his father and ex-soldier Gavin, played by former EastEnder Alex Ferns, and his wife Lucy, played by Leah McNamara.

Anthony Boyle said, “I’m thrilled to tell Brian’s extraordinary story. Not only can we explore the realities of the war, we can also explore how they can come back to haunt you.”

Soldiers involved in a notorious battle during the Iraq War are due to conduct a public investigation on charges of ill-treatment and unlawful killing of detainees.
The Al-Sweady investigation, alleging that British soldiers mistreated and killed detainees after the battle of Danny Boy in May 2004, is due to hear evidence from military witnesses today.
The investigation, which was ordered in 2009, began with the hearing in March but has so far only been heard by Iraqi witnesses and a few experts.

Toby Jones added, “Robert wrote an extremely compelling, intelligent and nuanced script and it is a real honor to work with Danny Boy’s exceptional cast and creative team to bring it to the big screen.”

The writer Robert Jones continued: “Here is a man who won a medal for bravery, but whose toughest test was the exam that followed it. External exam and soul search too – Brian Wood’s story is fascinating for a writer.

“It’s been a great privilege to work with producers of this type and I’m really excited to have Sam Miller at the helm and a great cast and crew.”

Sue Horth and Colin Barr, executive producers of Expectation, said, “Robert’s script is a razor-sharp examination of one of our most pressing and morally challenging questions: When is an act of war killed and when is it an act of murder?

“The story of Color Sergeant Brian Wood and human rights attorney Phil Shiner, who accused him of war crimes, goes directly to that question and it is an incredible honor to be able to tell.

“Bringing to life for BBC Two with Sam and Simon and an amazing cast only adds to that feeling of privilege.”

– Danny Boy will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer later this spring

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