CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Fearless Mr Fox reveals how he got himself a spot of war therapy
The Final Mission: Foxy’s War
Former special forces soldier Jason Fox let slip a backstage telly secret on The Final Mission: Foxy’s War (C4) when he met an old friend in a Kabul bar and revealed what he was doing back in Afghanistan.
Producers at Channel 4 had asked him where in the world he most wanted to make a documentary, he said, with an incredulous glint in his eye.
Foxy’s shows generally involve putting celebrities through SAS training camps or riding blindfold through Mexican slums on his way to interview a hitman for the drug cartels.
Given a free choice, of course he didn’t say, ‘Please can I spend another fortnight up to my neck in mud and leeches,’ or, ‘Most of all I’d love to be shot at with sub-machine guns by 13-year-olds out of their heads on cocaine.’
Instead, he blagged the channel into flying him to Helmand Province where he had spent three years on combat tours.
Former special forces soldier Jason Fox (pictured) let slip a backstage telly secret on The Final Mission: Foxy’s War (C4), writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS
Then he called every old pal in the country. The bloke in the bar, Kosh, had done well for himself: when Foxy knew him, Kosh was a translator for British forces, but now he is a senior government minister.
Another chum, high up in the Afghan security forces, took Foxy out on night patrol. This looked good on green night-vision video, but the cameraman didn’t seem to be enjoying himself.
With sadistic nonchalance, the presenter told him that, if bullets started to fly, their only chance of survival was to dive for cover.
Foxy was discharged from the military in 2012 with a diagnosis of PTSD, but it was obvious he’d love to be back in action.
Life on Civvy Street was all very well, he said, but ‘the hecticness of war is a little bit more therapeutic’.
Searching for evidence that Allied intervention has left Afghanistan a safer place, he joined a group of young female mountaineers — women who would not have been allowed out of doors, much less to do dangerous sports, under the Taliban regime.
Foxy (pictured right) was discharged from the military in 2012 with a diagnosis of PTSD, but it was obvious he’d love to be back in action, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS
It was obvious they found nothing therapeutic, or even remarkable, in the constant shadow of war. Wading through snow drifts in a high gully, one brave woman remarked that there were land mines all round them.
Not to worry, she added — the snow had probably rusted them solid. That’s all right, then.
For 94-year-old Mac, wartime hadn’t been all bad. He proudly told paramedic Paul, as a new series of Ambulance (BBC1) began, that he’d served with both the RAF and the Royal Navy, and was stationed out in Fiji.
‘Ah . . . the dusky maidens,’ he chuckled, and waggled his hips in imitation of a dancer in a grass skirt. If you can still waggle your hips at 94, you’re doing something right.
This episode focused more than usual on the call handlers, the highly professional men and women who answer the 999 calls and whose calm, clear advice can save lives in the critical moments before ambulance crews arrive.
Too often, this observational documentary is unable to follow stories through to the end.
This time, though, we began with an emergency call taken by Laura, a new recruit who courageously coped with her own emotions while helping an anguished husband whose wife of 44 years had suffered a seizure in bed.
The response team did all they could, but it was clear there was little hope. After the dash to hospital, we even sat with the paramedics as they talked through the tragedy. It was all profoundly moving.
For 94-year-old Mac, wartime hadn’t been all bad. He proudly told paramedic Paul, as a new series of Ambulance (paramedics from show pictured) (BBC1) began, that he’d served with both the RAF and the Royal Navy, and was stationed out in Fiji
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