ENTERTAINMENT

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Long hair, loud guitars and a song for Saddam – yes, that's Iraq & # 39; n & # 39; Roll


Once upon a time in Iraq

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Medic: Britain's lifesaver

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The band of heavy metal fan Waleed Neysif grew up in Baghdad in the 1990s and paid tribute to Saddam Hussein with every performance.

If he had been British, Waleed could have surprised the crowd with the following words: "Awright Bir-ming-ham! Are you ready to rock?"

But he was Iraqi and the dictator's secret police was at every concert, so he shouted, "This band, The Youth Of Iraq, is specially dedicated to our president Saddam Hussein."

The more voluminous the hair on a man's lip, the clearer his veneration of the Baghdad butcher. A former palace advisor carried a white, fluffy handlebar like two cumulus clouds

The more voluminous the hair on a man's lip, the clearer his veneration of the Baghdad butcher. A former palace advisor carried a white, fluffy handlebar like two cumulus clouds

Long hair and loud guitars are all very good as a documentary Once upon a time in Iraq (BBC2) made it clear that what was really important was mustaches. The more voluminous the hair on a man's lip, the clearer his veneration of the Baghdad butcher.

A former palace advisor carried a white, fluffy handlebar like two cumulus clouds. He mourned his lost leader every hour, he said, and stroked his rampant sideburns.

Facial hair and guitar riffs aren't the obvious symbols of the Allied invasion of Iraq in 2003, but this five-part film, directed by James Bluemel, uses the testimony of ordinary people – civilians and ordinary soldiers from both sides rather than politicians – to track them down History of an international disaster.

The format was developed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick with their 15-hour exploration of the Vietnam War in 2017.

Despite its epic title, which reflects Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, It wasn't once that ambitious in Iraq. Two men pass the ruins of the Great Al Nuri mosque in the center of Mosul's old town

Despite its epic title, which reflects Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, It wasn't once that ambitious in Iraq. Two men pass the ruins of the Great Al Nuri mosque in the center of Mosul's old town

That included interviews with more than six dozen witnesses, from the villagers whose homes were under attack on the U.S. campus to the American students under attack from the National Guard – if you've never seen it, search it on Netflix or DVD because it sets a new standard for documentary.

Despite its epic title, which reflects Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, It wasn't once that ambitious in Iraq. But respondents are well chosen, especially the young woman who was six when the bombing started.

She remembers how her mother threw her body over her and her siblings to protect them from the explosions.

Only the former U.S. Navy, Sgt Rudy Reyes, hit the wrong note, moved his bare biceps and drank theatrically from a bottle of tequila before he spoke. He loved the memories of the fight: "It was god-like," he said.

I do not doubt his war stories, but I also do not doubt that they have been retold many times.

Even his angry tears for a family killed at a roadblock because none of them could read the stop signs felt a bit rehearsed.

It was no surprise to look up Sgt Reyes and find that he himself played in a TV miniseries called Generation Kill.

Only the former U.S. Navy, Sgt Rudy Reyes, hit the wrong note, moved his bare biceps and drank theatrically from a bottle of tequila before he spoke. He loved the memories of the fight: "It was god-like," he said

Only the former U.S. Navy, Sgt Rudy Reyes, hit the wrong note, moved his bare biceps and drank theatrically from a bottle of tequila before he spoke. He loved the memories of the fight: "It was god-like," he said

This type of documentary is best when story is heard for the first time, not when subjects polish up their own mythology.

The 18-year-old graduate Ollie experienced history first-hand when he signed up for the 111 service at the height of the pandemic as an NHS answering machine.

Medic: Britain's lifesaver (C4) watched him sail through the training using the careful learning techniques he used to prepare for his exams weeks ago – now canceled.

But nothing could prepare him for his first real call from an older lady who had no symptoms of Covid-19. She had "pain below".

It was a rare moment of entertainment on a program that lacked sparks. The BBC1 Ambulance series does this much better because countless fixed cameras are constantly running to gain insight into the 999 crews and operators.

Getting a show like this right is a lot harder than it looks.

Hard quiz master of the night: Jeremy Paxman disapproves of both right and wrong answers to the University Challenge (BBC2).

He typed when Glasgow students asked an architectural question – and then sighed, "Dear, dear," when they knew one about video games.

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