Press Centre

The Paras: Men Of War

  • Episode: 

    3 of 3

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 24 Jan 2019
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 04 2019 : Sat 19 Jan - Fri 25 Jan
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Status: 

    Last in series
The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 15 January 2019.
 
The Paras: Men Of War
 
Episode 3
 
“The moment I’m given that rifle and on that plane jumping out into a war-torn country… I’m not going to be able to call my mum and ask her to give me a hug. It’s about just growing a pair and getting the job done.” - Private Jack Kojo-Braima
 
This brand-new three part landmark documentary series features unprecedented access to the elite Parachute Regiment, after its doors were opened to a UK network broadcaster’s cameras for the first time in a generation.
 
Filmed over 12 months, the series goes into all aspects of this closed world which turns raw recruits into elite soldiers trained to kill. Young men, many still in their late teenage years, are pushed to the extremes of their endurance and learn vital skills on the brutal 28-week recruitment course aiming to gain their coveted maroon beret. Only a few of those who join up make it to the end.
 
With access to the regiment for the first time since the early 1980s, The Paras: Men Of War offers a unique perspective and unflinching account of what it takes to make the grade, as well as providing an intimate insight into the characters of the young men and the officers charged with transforming them into battle ready paratroopers, who are the first in to any conflict.
 
Throughout the series they talk openly about their experiences both in training and in combat - and reflect on the challenges they face, providing a view into the mindset of the soldiers and the reality of the unique culture of the Paras. The series also follows the recruits who make it into the regiment, filming them up close and personal on their first major assignments as they prepare for new military threats.   
 
The third and final programme provides a vivid insight into how Paras need to be ready to fight at all times, their perspectives on being first into conflict - and how they face up to the prospect of death either during a battle, or in making dangerous parachute jumps. It also includes the stories of the recruits trying their hardest to get in. Major Nick French is getting married - but in the back of his mind, he’s aware that any Para needs to be ready for war at a moment’s notice. He says: “It’s sod’s law on my wedding day, we’ve got a terror incident just come to a close in France. We’ve got rising tensions with Russia, and the aftermath of a chemical attack on Salisbury… I’d be very grateful if I could be unmolested for the next 12 hours of my wedding day, then tomorrow, I’m good to go again.”
 
Marriage has brought the chance of him dying in action to the forefront of his mind - and he digs out a so-called death letter, written to his parents as a young paratrooper, in case he died in Afghanistan. The letter includes a line where he tells his parents not to wallow too much in his passing. He says: “They’ve never seen it and I found it when we were unpacking the other day. Right, dated 18th of October 2010. ‘Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this unfortunately I’ve got the good news, clearly I should have kept my rather large head down but unfortunately I didn’t when the time mattered. Be under no illusion, I’ve loved serving in the Parachute Regiment and I regret nothing. Please take some comfort in the fact that I have always tried to serve my country to the best of my ability...' See, I found that… I found that quite hard to read.”
 
Corporal Andrew Denikiewicz says he is unconcerned by the potential prospect of death. He says: “If I die then I’m dead aren’t I? What am I gonna know about it? My family will be gutted, well I hope. Obviously if I die doing what I love then, you know I’ve died a soldier’s death haven’t I?”
 
Andrew is out running with his troops when he spots one of them hasn’t shaved. He calls him back to speak to later, and says: “Unfortunately, some of the blokes these days don’t realise that they’re in the army. They think they’re just here for a picnic holiday and he’s one of them… If we get caught by the enemy in an ambush is his weapon gonna stop firing? ‘Cause he’s not shaved so he’s not gonna have oiled his weapon and prepped his weapon is he?” 
 
Andrew - whose own chequered disciplinary record means he now doesn’t drink - talks about what first inspired him to sign up to be a Para. He says: “My next-door neighbour was in the Parachute Regiment and I used to see him coming home on leave, and he had the best gear on, he always had money in his pocket and he had like… He had an aura about him, he had a swagger and he always had the time of day for me as well. I can remember I used to like watch him out the crack of my curtain coming back in off a night out, absolutely like baggage, like and err, stumbling into his house and I just remember looking out the window thinking, ‘Yeah, I want a piece of that.’”
 
The regiment is filmed working with US counterparts in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the largest military base in the World, before they literally drop into Latvia, on the border with Russia during a time of escalating tensions. One of those due to parachute in is Corporal Eddie Walton. He says: “This jump I think for everyone here, this jump will be the best one of their career because it’s the longest jump ever conducted by British forces. So, it means something to the regiment and it’ll go down in our history books.”
 
He explains that in the world of the Parachute Regiment he is a very different person to the man he is at home. He says: “There’s a big difference between what you see if you’re the enemy and what you see if you’re my son or you’re my wife. I can’t charge around my house with a bayonet in my teeth, but I can’t run round the battlefield asking for cuddles.”
 
Eddie also talks about what drives him - and many others in the Parachute Regiment - on: “The reason I love this place so much is because I feel like it’s one of the last outposts of hard men who are ready to do bad things to bad people.”
 
Meanwhile, the latest recruits take on P Company - said to be the toughest test in the British military - before potentially making their first parachute jumps if they pass, to gain their wings. Lining up is Private Jack Kojo-Braima, who failed his first course but came back to try again. He says: “I want to pass this, to me it’s a title to be earned by any means necessary. You know if that means two broken legs, a broken arm, a smashed in face, yeah, then so be it.”
 
While ‘Kojo’ passes the Paras training course winning the prize for best endeavour, he faces one final hurdle before becoming a fully-fledged paratrooper - his first parachute jump from a Hercules plane. He says: “The way I see it, the first jump is the big test, you know it’s the moment of truth, you can jump out of a plane, happy days, crack on. If you can’t well, think of another career path.”