Danny Boy composite

Danny Boy on BBC Two: Where are Brian Wood and Phil Shiner now?

BBC Two drama is the real life story of a soldier's journey from hero to alleged killer

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Danny Boy tells the gripping true story of a young man’s journey from hero to alleged war criminal – but where is former soldier Brian Wood now?

And where is the lawyer Phil Shiner who accused Brian of war crimes?

Here’s everything you need to know about the one-off drama and what became of the two men.

Anthony Boyle as Brian Wood, and Toby Jones as Phil Shiner in Danny Boy (Credit: BBC Two)
Anthony Boyle as Brian Wood, and Toby Jones as Phil Shiner in Danny Boy (Credit: BBC Two)

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What is Danny Boy about and is it a true story?

Danny Boy on BBC Two is based on real events.

It follows the true story of a young soldier’s journey from hero to alleged war criminal.

Anthony Boyle plays the real-life soldier Brian Wood, accused of war crimes in Iraq by the tenacious human rights lawyer Phil Shiner (played by Toby Jones).

The two men go head to head in a legal and moral conflict that takes us from battlefield to courtroom.

The legal case became one of Britain’s biggest ever public inquiries, the Al-Sweady Inquiry.

What happened at the Battle of Danny Boy? Where is Brian Wood now?

Iraqi fighters ambushed a platoon of British soldiers in southern Iraq on May 14, 2004.

The 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, was sent to help them.

The three-hour firefight that ensued became known as the Battle of Danny Boy, so named after a point on the map.

Some 28 Iraqis were killed, many at close range.

It was Brian Wood, a colour sergeant, who seized the initiative during battle.

He made the split decision to lead his men into enemy fire in the first bayonet charge by British soldiers in 25 years.

The government awarded him with the Military Cross – partly in recognition of his bravery in this action.

However, when prisoners taken at Danny Boy alleged they’d been mistreated, the Red Cross asked the British authorities to investigate.

Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner took on the case which turned Brian Wood from war hero to alleged murderer accused of war crimes.

Danny Boy is a thought-provoking drama that questions what we ask of those who fight for their country (Credit: BBC Two)

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Where is Brian Wood now?

After years of public shame, Brian took to the stand and delivered a powerful testimony to proclaim his innocence.

Following tense inquiry room scenes, justice was finally served, and Brian was found not guilty of war crimes.

Brian wrote a book about the fight to clear his name, entitled Double Crossed: A Fighting Man Under Fire.

On 3 February 2017, he appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain talking about the false allegations against him and his unit by disgraced lawyer Phil Shiner.

Brian has also founded Keep Attacking – a sports clothing brand.

Where is Phil Shiner now?

In the trailer for the one-off drama, viewers see Toby Evans’ character announce that “British soldiers get away with murder”.

In fact, human rights lawyer Phil Shiner made false accusations against Brian and others.

At the end of the Al-Sweady Inquiry, Sir Thayne Forbes said that some of the claims against Brian Wood and his regiment had been “the product of deliberate lies”.

Phil Shiner was struck off the roll of solicitors in the UK and stripped of an honorary doctorate.

This was as a result of misconduct during the trial and falsification of certain cases.

A tribunal found him “guilty of multiple professional misconduct charges, including dishonesty and lack of integrity”.

Father-of-five Phil Shiner, now 63, declared himself bankrupt in March 2017, owing almost £7million.

However, he tried to outwit the authorities by first hiding his assets including his home to avoid paying £7 million debts.

Danny Boy airs on Wednesday May 12 2021 at 9pm on BBC Two.

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