Episode two of accused by Jimmy Mcgovern was called Frankie’s story. It was about two friends both soldiers in Afghanistan. Frankie’s best mate is being bullied by his platoon commander (Mckenzie Crook). Frankie must decide whether to stand by or report the abuse and take action.
I missed the first eight minutes but thought it was a great piece of fictional drama. The army have complained loads about it in recent days because it was thematically controversial. But I think that kind of bullying has definitely gone on in the past. Deepcut springs to mind.
It did feel unrealistic in the context of a front line camp in Afghanistan. Maybe because the story isolated the bullying element and didn’t weave it into any kind of broader war story. ( Maybe this was for time and budget reasons.) At the same time it made bullying totally endemic in the army rather than just a trait of his platoon and I wondered if this was really the case?
These things made it seem a bit of an outsiders view of what the war must be like. But hey what do I know! From memory – The Mark of Cain dealt with similar subjects better.
I liked the ending. The idea that the father of the dead soldier had the same mentality as Mckenzine Crook’s sergeant. That the ideal of his son as a hero was more important than the truth and he was prepared to sacrifice Frankie’s ‘life’ to that ideal. Frankie too goes along with it for the sake of his and everyone else’s reputation. Which I guess was the polemic.
I think a longer drama could have covered the subject with more shade, depth and subtlety, but still very tense and enjoyable.