BBC to air bomb disposal comedy

Creators say they treat the subject 'with respect'

The BBC has announced a new comedy about a bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan – and immediately faced criticism it is offensive to British troops.

But the creators or Bluestone 42 have defended their show, saying they treated the work of serving personal ‘with respect’.

Executive producer Stephen McCrum admitted there had been some complaints from the families of British troops in Afghanistan – including the parents of one serviceman who lost his life.

But he said: ‘Once we had explained what we were trying to do, they actually became very helpful to us. We made absolutely clear that these people are engaging in a serious and dangerous job and are doing it with great professionalism.

‘We wanted it to be as authentic as we could. The important thing was to show the humanity and spirit of the piece.’

‘They are an exceptional bunch of people. The least we could do was show that respect on screen. What I hope is that the squaddies watch the show and can see that it's truthful to their experience.’

McCrum added: ‘I cannot think of any other UK comedy that is set in an ongoing conflict like this, and it is certainly the first from the BBC.’ Greg McHugh’s BBC Scotland series Gary: Tank Commander was set among squaddies back in the UK but features several scenes in Afghanistan.

Bluestone 42, which revolves a round a unit responsible for disarming improvised explosive devices, was created by James Cary and Richard Hurst, who are best known for the knockabout slapstick comedy of Miranda.

Hurst added: ‘We talked to a lot of soldiers and we had military advisers on set every day. We don't want somebody who is in the army to see this and say that's wrong.’

BBC Three controller Zai Bennett said it would sit well alongside his channel’s factual shows about life in the armed services.

The eight-part series which starts next month, stars Oliver Chris, Kelly Adams, Gary Carr, Stephen Wight and Katie Lyons.

Published: 14 Feb 2013

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