Minnow Films

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Squaddies 2011

Minnow Films for Channel 4   1 x 60 minutes
Minnow Films for Channel 4

This episode meets the infantry soldiers, or 'bullet catchers' as they call themselves. These troops are never more than 500 metres from the enemy, living in a world where injury and death are an occupational hazard.

In just a few months, three of the 15 soldiers based on a small compound on the frontline of Helmand Province are seriously injured: one by an IED (improvised explosive device); one by gunshot wound to the neck; and one by a grenade. It's a stark reminder of the risks they face each time they set outside the wire on foot patrol.

In spite of the dangers, the soldiers open up about their passion for fighting and the adrenaline-fuelled excitement of cheating death.

But during moments of intimacy, rarely captured among soldiers, the young troops, some of whom are only 18 years old, lay bare their anxieties. James says 'I've never been so scared in my whole entire life', while Liddell tells of his horror at having to hang his kilt up before leaving home in case it was needed for his funeral.

As the tour progresses the soldiers are told they must push north, further into Taliban-held territory, to an area where one of their comrades was previously blown up by an IED. With no alternative but to follow orders, the soldiers' deepest fears become reality yet again.

“Fighting on the Frontline is extraordinary. More than any other I’ve seen, it shows what it’s really like out there – from the point of view of the soldiers, not the TV people. So respect to the TV people involved, both for gaining the trust of the Squaddies and then for taking a back seat”
The Guardian

The last of this raw, outspoken documentary series follows infantrymen – ‘bullet catchers’, as they call themselves – on the front line. They talk openly about the excitement of the action, as well as their private anxieties
Daily Mail


Nominated for

RTS Nomination: Documentary Series  

Documentary Series


Filmed and Series Directed by
Jessie Versluys
Series Producer
Ruth Kelly
Film Editor
Mark Towns
Executive Producers
Simon Ford
Morgan Matthews
Patrol HD Director
Benjamin Richards
Head of Production
Clare Voyce
Senior Co-Ordinators
Sarah Bishop
Elisabeth Pinto
Production Assistant
Francis Longhurst
DOP Interviews
Brendan Easton
Richard Spiller