The BBC is said to have ditched a proposed TV drama – at draft script stage – about the relationship between Tony Blair and George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war because it threatened to stir up old controversies. Today's The Guardian picks up the story on page 11, saying the drama would have potentially “re-opened ‘sexed up dossier’ wounds”.
Reporter Ben Dowell writes that, in one scene of the script, Blair and his press adviser, Alistair Campbell, urge an intelligence committee to 'sex up' a dossier on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. The fictitious Blair depicted in the project is quoted, saying the public must be able to see Saddam Hussein as a “serious, dangerous, immediate threat”.
The BBC, however, is reported saying that the drama was not going ahead because it clashes with another film about Blair. This production – in conjunction with American broadcaster HBO – is entitled, ‘The Special Relationship’, and examines what Dowell refers to as “Blair’s less controversial relationship with (Bill) Clinton.”
Christine Lanagan, creative director of BBC films, is quoted, saying the BBC had not “chickened out” of the Blair/Bush project.