Sky One breaks new ground tonight with the start of a three part documentary, Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, which sees the former EastEnders actor join British troops in Helmand province.
In the first episode the documentary team follow the men of 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment as they prepared for deployment into the harshest combat zone British troops have endured in living memory.
Watching the preview disc I couldn’t help but think that the urban-themed training complex designed for training troops for the Cold War was a pretty inadequate substitute for Afghanistan.
It’s impossible not to admire the willing and pluck of the troops as they prepare to say goodbye to loved ones and the bravery of the families who face months of anxiety and anguish as they await news from the front line.
Flying into and around Afghanistan looks to be one of the scariest experiences imaginable with passengers required to don helmets and body armour ahead of a landing which could well be the subject of a mortar attack. The responsibility of the RAF crews who must endure such landings in complete darkness is immense.
Next week’s episode sees Kemp arrive on the front line and experience the threats which form part of life under fire including a near miss with a mine which takes the life of a solider traveling behind his convoy.
This is an important documentary which makes a welcome break from Sky One’s diet of bought in US dramas. If you don’t have Sky but know someone who does make a point of visiting them for the next three Mondays.
Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, Mondays at 9pm from January 21st on Sky One and Sky One HD.