ITV documentary ‘The Paras: Men of War’ is a gritty 3-part documentary on The Parachute Regiment. Uncompromising in parts, filming covers the whole gamut from new recruits at the Infantry Training Centre’s Parachute Company and P Coy Test Week, to battalion life with 3 PARA as it prepares for Very High Readiness.
In the first programme, 41 recruits start training at Catterick barracks.
The training staff shave their heads and tell them they are to lose their civilian names and to be called ‘Joe’ (which stands for Joined On Enlistment).
After 10 days, the platoon leaves the barracks for the first time to begin the very basics of being a paratrooper, going into the field to get into the mindset of a soldier.
Some struggle more than others with the rigours of the course and must face the reality of being in the Paras - asking themselves whether they want to carry on, or the possibility of being asked to leave if they fail.
In the second programme, only 27 of the original 40 recruits remain as the platoon reaches a third of the way through its training course.
Lieutenant Dan Lovegrove says the brutal training is designed so recruits can channel and control an inner violence which they believe must exist in an individual to become a Para.
As the course goes on, physical training further intensifies, although the most brutal test is left to the final day - a one-minute bout of amateur boxing known as milling.
The episode culminates with the recruits finding out whether they will be given the maroon beret - or will be dismissed from the platoon.
The third and final programme provides a vivid insight into how Paras need to be ready to fight at all times, their perspectives on being first into conflict - and how they face up to the prospect of death either during a battle, or in making dangerous parachute jumps.
Meanwhile, the latest recruits take on P Company - said to be the toughest test in the British military - before potentially making their first parachute jumps if they pass, to gain their wings. Lining up is Private Jack Kojo-Braima, who failed his first course but came back to try again.
While ‘Kojo’ passes the Paras training course winning the prize for best endeavour, he faces one final hurdle before becoming a fully-fledged paratrooper - his first parachute jump from a Hercules plane.
The Parachute Regiment is the parachute infantry component of the British Army's rapid response formation, 16 Air Assault Brigade.