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Iraq War documentary and drama pick up multiple BAFTA TV nominations

Once Upon A Time in Iraq and crime thriller Baghdad Central receive a total of seven nominations for 2021 awards
Once Upon a Time in Iraq and Baghdad Central both focus on the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 (BBC/Channel 4)

Two television series about the Iraq War have been widely recognised in the 2021 British Academy Television and Craft Awards, after nominations were announced by BAFTA on Wednesday.

Once Upon a Time in Iraq, a five part BBC documentary series, was nominated for four awards in the factual category: best series, best director, and two separate nominations for best editing. 

The series chronologically charts the war, from the 2003 invasion by United States coalition forces, to the subsequent insurgency and the eventual rise and fall of the Islamic State (IS) group a decade later. 

It features a wide range of people involved in the conflict, including American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Among the latter was Um Qusay, a celebrated humanitarian who detailed how she helped scores of people escape persecution from IS militants. 

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The programme also interviewed several journalists who covered the war, including historian Omar Mohammed, whose Mosul Eye blog documented daily atrocities committed in the city of Mosul while under IS rule. 

Baghdad Central, a crime thriller series also set during the Iraq War, was recognised by BAFTA as well. 

It centres on a former police inspector (played by Waleed Zuaiter) searching for his missing daughter, amid a backdrop of invasion and military occupation following the fall of former longtime ruler Saddam Hussein in 2003. 

The drama picked up nominations in three categories: scripted casting, original music and leading actor, for American-Palestinian actor Zuaiter.

Zuaiter previously produced and starred in Omar, a 2013 Palestinian film that was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign language film. 

Elsewhere from the region, Sky News was nominated in the news category for its reporting from the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib. 

Sky Sports was also acknowledged for its coverage of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. 

Last month, former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone spoke to Middle East Eye about how the motorsport came to the Gulf region, amid backlash from human rights activists.  

The BAFTA craft awards, which focus on technical achievements, will be announced on 24 May. The wider TV awards will take place on 6 June.