BBC: Iraq Hero's Tale "Too Positive"

The BBC has canceled plans to tell the story of a British soldier who won the Victoria Cross (Britain's equivalent to the American Congressional Medal of Honor), because it is "too positive."

Amid the deaths and the grim daily struggle bravely borne by Britain's forces in southern Iraq, one tale of heroism stands out.Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

The BBC's retreat from the project, which had the working title Victoria Cross, has sparked accusations of cowardice and will reignite the debate about the broadcaster's alleged lack of patriotism.

"The BBC has behaved in a cowardly fashion by pulling the plug on the project altogether," said a source close to the project. "It began to have second thoughts last year as the war in Iraq deteriorated. It felt it couldn't show anything with a degree of positivity about the conflict.

"It needed to tell stories about Iraq which reflected the fact that some members of the audience didn't approve of what was going on. Obviously a story about Johnson Beharry could never do that. You couldn't have a scene where he suddenly turned around and denounced the war because he just wouldn't do that.

"The film is now on hold and it will only make it to the screen if another broadcaster picks it up."

I don't think there's any "alleged" lack of patriotism there; rather, there is a real, palpable lack of patriotism at the BBC. Not to mention a vitriolic anti-war bias that they seem to be taking fewer and fewer pains to conceal.

It will be interesting to see how many members of the audience who support the war in Iraq the Beeb has managed to alienate. Apparently it doesn't really give a hoot about those people.