The making of "THE GULF WAR" television series took over a year and a half, involved a small team of researchers/reporters in the United States and Britain, required filming in twelve countries, and posed a fair amount of logistical and reporting challenges.
There were over one hundred soldiers, airmen, civilians and political leaders interviewed and almost eight hundred hours of archive tapes gathered from worldwide sources.
The U.S. associate producer, Jeff Goldberg, spent six months tracking down American servicemen and women who played critical roles in the war and pre-interviewing them about their experiences. Many had left the services; locating them required some detective work.
The more challenging obstacle was the Iraqis and the Iraqi government. Initially, the government chose not to cooperate. So U.K.-based associate producer Guy Smith traveled through the Middle East, searching for Iraqi soldiers who had deserted during the war and fled Iraq.
After months of negotiation, the Iranian government allowed Smith to spend Christmas 1994 deep inside Iran, filming with former soldiers who now live in refugee camps close to the Iraqi border.
Smith also kept pressing the Baghdad government to cooperate.
Eventually, Tariq Aziz agreed to be interviewed in the final weeks of production.
As for George Bush and Saddam Hussein, Bush declined to be interviewed. A formal request was made to Saddam Hussein, with no response. Since the war, Hussein has not given interviews to the U.S. or U.K. press.
In the United States, UK-based picture researcher Peter Scott spent a month at the Department of Defense film archives at March Air Force Base, logging and copying hours of previously untransmitted material. He also spent months assembling pictures from the libraries in the U.S., U.K. and from Middle East. Scott also followed up scores of contacts made with servicemen and women to gather hours of footage of missions and events that are unavailable in any library.
Series Producer Eamonn Matthews, on the basis of long off-the-record conversations with key figures in the decision-making process in the US, UK and Middle East, prepared detailed program treatments which were constantly (and radically) up-dated on the basis of the information coming in from the rest of the team.
Finally, there are the two broadcasts.
BBC's "THE GULF WAR" series, produced by Matthews and the above team of reporters/researchers, focuses in part on the experiences and perspectives of British leaders and participants.
FRONTLINE's "THE GULF WAR" highlights the backstage struggle between American political leaders and the American military and between the generals themselves. FRONTLINE's series was produced by
Ben Loeterman and senior produced by Michael Sullivan.
"THE GULF WAR" is a Fine Art Production produced for the BBC and WGBH Boston
For tapes/transcript information click here.
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