BBC Radio 4, 29 May 2012
From 28-29 May 1982 the Argentine army fought a rearguard action to defend
Goose Green from the British task force. Their task proved fruitless: ill-equipped and untrained, the young conscripts were
no match for their opponents. The surrender was swift and decisive: within two days the British had retaken the town, as the
first step towards recovering the Falklands.
James Robinson's production recounted the campaign from the point of view of two
young Argentine soldiers, Luis (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and Diego (Michael Socha). Neither of them were particularly interested
in fighting; nor did they know much about the political significance of colonizing the Falklands/ Malvinas. They were
just two adolescents living under a military dictatorship sucked into battle.
The play had strong echoes of other dramas set on the battlefield - as I listened,
I couldn't help but think of Peter Weir's Gallipoli, where the flower of Australian youth was cut down in its prime
on inhospitable Turkish terrain, fighting a battle that was not even theirs to fight. Luis wanted to become a famous writer,
but the battle left him scarred for life; he recounted his experiences in a tone of voice strongly reminiscent of Wilfred
Owen's speaker in "Anthem for Doomed Youth" ("What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?") The Argentine army were placed
in a similar role; living on minimal rations with pitifully inadequate weapons, they were like lambs to the slaughter.
The sheer pointlessness of sending these youngsters into battle was amplified by
the Narrator (Eiry Thomas), who described in detail the technology the British used to recapture the islands. They were an
advanced military nation; by contrast, the Argentine army was nothing more than a bunch of stragglers. The youngsters
fought bravely against impossible odds, but they were doomed from the start.