8:30pm Monday, March 29 on TV One
From the makers of award-winning dramas, Life On Mars and Spooks, and starring James Nesbitt (Cold Feet), comes the two-part drama Occupation, which traces the lives of three British soldiers from the moment of the invasion of Basra in April 2003 and spans the following five years (tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE).
Basra, southern Iraq, 2003. Crammed inside a Warrior armed troop carrier, bullets and RPGs exploding around them, three British soldiers head into a hostile part of the city – and a world descending into chaos. When they emerge from their vehicle, their lives spiral out of control. Their fates – and the destiny of Iraq itself – become inextricably linked and united in war, the three men, and their friendships are torn apart during the peace that follows.
Written by Peter Bowker and inspired by factual research, Occupation is drama that follows the lives of three soldiers and friends – firstly during the battle for Basra, secondly as they struggle to adapt to life back home and, finally, as very different forces draw them back to Iraq.
Filmed in Northern Ireland and Morocco, Occupation is set against the backdrop of the Iraq war, and explores the impact war has on the lives of those who fight, and what happens when cultures collide – not just in war, but in peace.
Award-winning writer Peter Bowker says: “It isn’t a message piece in the sense that it can be boiled down to a simple take on the invasion of Iraq and its consequences. It’s a story about three men who are united in battle, but are torn apart by the aftermath.”
Executive producer Derek Wax says: “Pete has an extraordinary ability to get inside the heads of these characters, and to explore the chaos and madness of this post-war period in Basra. This is a fiercely compelling story spanning the aftermath of the most significant war in recent history, a war that leaves so many huge questions unanswered.”
Mike (Nesbitt) Danny (Stephen Graham, Snatch) and Lee (Warren Brown, Shameless) are in Manchester, having participated in the invasion of Basra and helped fly an injured little girl back to the United Kingdom for treatment. Struggling to adjust to life at home, the three decide to return to the chaos of Basra; Danny for the rich financial pickings, Mike for love, and Hibbs because he passionately believes in the mission to rebuild the country and help the Iraqi people.
Back in Basra, business is booming for private military contractors. Danny and Lester seize the chance to make money by winning a contract to rebuild a hospital. Mike tracks down Aliyah, an Iraqi doctor he fell in love with, and hears some surprising information. His marriage soon comes under strain. Hibbs, meanwhile, starts to unravel when he witnesses the murder of a friend.
Part two of Occupation screens Monday 29 March at 8.30 on TV ONE.