So, let’s meet the celebrated/infamous/notorious (delete as necessary) 1991 Gulf War SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero… Above we have a bunch of screengrabs taken from the 1999 TV mini-series Bravo Two Zero (written by Troy Kennedy-Martin and directed by Tom Clegg) of the 1993 book Bravo Two Zero by ‘Andy McNab’.
Now, there are some confusing things to consider. ‘McNab’ wrote the first book about the B20 mission, and he used pseudonyms for those of his comrades-in-arms who survived. He used the real names of those who died. One of those who survived, ‘Chris Ryan’, subsequently wrote his own escape of the mission and of his escape in the 1995 book The One That Got Away which in turn was turned into a 1996 television film The One That Got Away (written and directed by Paul Greengrass), and used some but not all of the same names. His version of events differs considerably from ‘McNab’s.
The ‘McNab’ and ‘Ryan’ books, and in particular the characterisation of on of those who perished, Vince Phillips, pissed off at least two of the remaining three survivors, and one of them, ‘Mike Coburn’ (previously called ‘Kiwi Mark’) wrote his own account in the 1998 book Soldier Five.
Of course, this not being a straight-forward story, there was a long and convoluted legal battle over the publication of the book – let’s just say that the MoD was not keen. Eventually, after a protracted court case the book came out in 2004.
Meanwhile, in 2000 former SAS reservist-turned-explorer Michael Asher roamed around Iraq searching for evidence of what happened during the B20 mission, having been commissioned to make a television programme for the Channel 4 documentary strand To The Ends Of The Earth. In 2002 the programme was completed and broadcast, under the name The Real Bravo Two Zero, accompanied by a book, also called The Real Bravo Two Zero.
Seriously – are you following this?
Anyway, when I get the chance I’ll do the same for the adaptation of the Ryan book for comparison’s sake.