Belfast to Baghdad

BBC Northern Ireland (1 x 60 mins)

When a group of painters and decorators from Northern Ireland arrived in Baghdad 30 years ago to paint Saddam Hussein’s Palace, they found themselves at the centre of an international crisis. Held as human shields, it was five months before they managed to get home. Now they come together to share their story for the first time.

Using incredible footage shot at the time, photos and mementoes from their trip and first hand testimony from the men and their families, we see a group of men from Northern Ireland living at the centre of one of the world’s most recent international crises - the Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield.

As 35 nations, led by the United States, took a stand against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, these men from Banbridge, Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown were living on their nerves in the centre of Baghdad. Cut off from their families, their only thoughts were of getting home. Somehow.

This extraordinary film tells their story - what they were doing out there, what happened to them and eventually how they managed to get home.