Daily Telegraph (15 June 1997)
Gulf author in war of words with ex-wife
By Alastair McQueen
ANDY McNab, the SAS Gulf War veteran and best-selling author, has been accused by his ex-wife of making "silly and ridiculous" legal attempts to stop full publication of her book Married to the SAS.
McNab, the commander of the ill-fated patrol Bravo Two Zero, has written two books about his time in the SAS and fought the Ministry of Defence for the right to publish the second, Immediate Action. Now his third wife, Frances Nicholson, has written her account of life married to an SAS man and McNab has taken legal action to stop certain passages being included.
After a year of letters from his solicitor, her publisher John Blake has now agreed to remove the passages to ensure the book is published. Mrs Nicholson, 38, said she thought it ironic that a man who fought in the courts over his own book had tried to ban parts of hers.
She said: "The man who fought the Ministry of Defence for the right to publish has put every obstacle in my way. Some of the things he wanted removed are ridiculous. But he made no secret of the fact that he could afford to fight all the way through the courts to stop me. His attitude to my book became very silly in the end. He is very, very protective of his image as the great British hero. Even if I had written the Bible he would have objected."
According to Mr Blake, McNab claimed that the name he writes under was a trademark which Mrs Nicholson could not use, but backed down after she threatened to use his real name, which he believed would endanger his life.
He said: "We have had a year of legal letters between his lawyers and ourselves. He has tried very, very hard to stop it. I have been very disappointed at his attitude. Before all this, like everyone else in the country, I regarded him as a national hero."
In the book, Mrs Nicholson tells how she frequented bars in Hereford, where the SAS is based, to pick up members of the regiment. She said: "I don't know if he is upset because I slept with people he was serving with. It is hard living in a small place like Hereford when your husband has left you and you see him going round with his new girlfriend and you are left with a child. So you think about tit for tat."
Tomorrow, Mrs Nicholson, who is now married to an American soldier and lives in the United States, will begin a round of interviews in Britain.
McNab was unavailable for comment yesterday. But his lawyer, David Hooper, of Biddle and Co, said: "We have pointed out the dangers of publishing defamatory material. The book, as originally written, was in our view defamatory. Far from trying to suppress the book we agreed with the publisher changes which would not result in Mr McNab having to take action against them. We took the view that prevention was better than cure."
Daily Telegraph (8 October 1998)
'We don't go around killing all the time'
His third wife claimed that SAS men were sex maniacs... so what is Britain's most famous trained killer like in the flesh? Petronella Wyatt finds out
I AM gazing out of the window, searching the faces in the street for that of Andy McNab, the former SAS soldier turned best-selling author. I have no idea what to look for. Photographs of McNab, which is not his real name, are always blacked out. This is because of the "unofficial threat" from the friends and families of people he has killed.
Will he be tall or short? Ugly or handsome? Loud, or with an urgent quietude? Will his figure resemble that of a Chippendale or will it have been emaciated by the privations of war? If anything, the man in most of the doctored photographs appears rather fierce, with a growth of beard and the fuzzy hair peculiar to redheads.
Suddenly, the door opens and a pale young man who has been loitering downstairs for the past few minutes bursts in. He is clean shaven, his eyes are as blue as Anatolian waters. The hair is not red but black. He grins at me.
Oh, God. It occurs to me he is a hired assassin. He is going to "take me out" and then wait for McNab. But this is McNab. "Those photos don't do me justice," he laughs. "And I hadn't shaved when they did them."
He sits, flexing his whippet-lean legs. "I tell you, it's great to be famous - and at the same time to be able to go down to the pub without anyone recognising you."
The whole thing started, in traditional English-style, with a cock-up. If McNab and his patrol had not met with disaster in the Gulf War in 1991, he would never have written his account of the mission, Bravo Two Zero, the book that nudged him along the path to wealth and notoriety.
"We were supposed to be disabling Scud missiles, when we were spotted by this shepherd boy," he recalls. "Well, you can't go around killing children, it would give you a bad press. So we got caught instead."
Their cover blown, three of the patrol were killed. McNab was captured and tortured for six weeks. This would have broken most men, but it was the making of him. He was awarded the DCM.
Bravo Two Zero was followed by Immediate Action, McNab's no-holds-barred autobiographical tale of life in the SAS, which the Army tried to ban, and Remote Control, a thriller, also frowned upon by the MoD. At 38, McNab now moves between France and the United States, where he vets action film scripts for authenticity.
"I guess I projected the SAS into the nation's consciousness," McNab admits. "And in a pretty controversial way."
There had been military memoirs before his, of course, but they were written by members of the officer class (including General Sir Peter de la Billière, former commander of the SAS and British forces in the Gulf war). The official reaction to Bravo Two Zero was extremely hostile. According to newspaper reports, he was banned from his regimental base.
"It was a hypocritical class thing," he says, examining his nails. Indeed, McNab insists that it was "the establishment" that suggested he write Bravo Two Zero in the first place. "They wanted someone to set the record straight about the abortive Scud missile mission, but then the whole success of the book got out of control. They were amazed by the sales and they got frightened."
At this point, I suggest to McNab that I am sceptical that he wrote his first book solely as a favour to "the establishment". Surely financial gain played a not inconsiderable part as well? He smiles affably. "Yes, of course it did. I was getting older and you can't stay in the Army for ever. I wanted security and the good life, I've wanted that all my life."
Like the ace working-class spy Sidney Reilly, Andy McNab was born on the wrong side of the blanket. He was brought up in Peckham by adoptive parents: he says he has no desire to know his real mother and father. His natural mother apparently left him on the steps of Guy's Hospital in London, wrapped in a carrier bag.
McNab grew up on the streets, and joined gangs at a young age. When he was eight, he witnessed his first death. Another young gang member was killed falling through a roof. Hardened by this experience, McNab went on to steal - everything from car radios to cheque books.
He was sent to a detention centre, where he sobered up and decided on an Army career. "I hated detention. Really hated it. I thought there was only one way I was going to get out of my miserable life and that was by joining the Army. Also, the ads at the time were great - real James Bond stuff."
McNab was posted to Northern Ireland. He was 19 when he first killed a man, a terrorist in South Armagh. What did it feel like?
"It was very exciting for a 19-year-old," he enthuses, as if recalling the first time he had sex. "There was the adrenalin rush and the thought of the credibility it would bring. Then there was the soft toilet paper."
Toilet paper? "What I mean is, I got to stay in Ireland. And in Ireland they gave you soft toilet paper, which they didn't in England.
"There is a misconception, though, that we go around killing people all the time. You only shoot if they are in a position to shoot at you. It's defensive. You have to protect your group." McNab speaks of death in a voice that drifts coolly through the air like cigarette smoke; he seems almost completely unmoved by the subject. He joined the SAS in 1984 after a gruelling series of training courses. His career cannot have done much for his personal life: indeed, he has three failed marriages behind him. His first, to Christine, went, as he puts it, to "ratshit". He left his second wife, Debbie, by jumping out of the window. Why did he do that? "Because I couldn't get out of the door. It was locked."
He has an 11-year-old daughter by his third marriage to a pretty blonde, Frances Nicholson. But the child was not enough to keep the relationship together. After their divorce, Nicholson wrote a book about their life. She claimed that SAS men were sex maniacs who beat up their wives.
I try to imagine myself being in love with McNab but find it hard. Although he is undoubtedly good looking, his is the gaudy glamour of a prancing animal without a soul.
Are you a sex maniac? I ask. He considers this. "No more than anyone else. Look, SAS people are fit young men. Obviously they attract women. It's like being a member of a football team."
The ancient Greeks said that battle made them feel horny. Was this true? "Nah. After a fight, I just wanted to get drunk with my mates and go to sleep. I was very selfish, I admit. My career came before my marriages. I'm sorry for my wives. They had to put up with a lot."
Frances Nicholson told journalists that McNab exerted pressure on her to use false names in her book. He says this is not true. "I didn't try to stop her using her real name. That was just a publicity stunt to sell the book. It sounded good to say I asked her to use a false name."
This brings us to his own use of a pseudonym. When, in 1995, he was named in court documents, he accused the MoD of endangering his life.
But does anyone genuinely want to kill him? Surely there are more important targets, like the Northern Ireland Secretary, who, incidentally, doesn't skulk about using a false name?
He is offended. "I am important. What do you mean no one wants to kill me?"
OK, assuming they did, surely they would manage it despite the false name. What if I were an assassin? I could be concealing a gun. What would he do then. How would he "stuff" me?
Startled, he gazes at me in disbelief. "Why would I want to do that? In those instances you try to run away. I'd get out as quick as I could. I wouldn't stay and fight."
McNab concedes that anonymity has commercial advantages. "Now it's become my pen name, there is not much point in changing it. I could decide there was a time when there was no longer any danger to me or my family, but what's the point?
"As I said, it's nice to be able to go on the Tube without people knowing who you are. I get the best of both worlds."
It has been said many times that McNab is a poor role model for the young, and that he has abused the security of an institution for financial gain. But he believes he has acted responsibly.
"My so-called revelations have never risked security. In Remote Control, I describe how to make bombs out of household items, but I don't give the ingredients, so no one could actually do it. You're more likely to find out how on the Internet."
He goes on hurriedly. "It's the media that see us as glamorous to the young. My books show we're not. There are no watches that turn into submarines or anything. I take war very seriously. I think it's bad that soon we'll have a generation in power that has only seen it on the television. It will make politicians too relaxed about it. War should be the last possible option."
McNab narrows his blue eyes. "I got out in time. Most ex-Army people end up as pathetic security guards. I didn't want that. I wanted something more."
He would seem to have got what he wanted: a film of Bravo Two Zero is to be released next year, in which he is played by Sean Bean. Not bad, eh?
"Yeah. I've been very lucky," he reflects. "It could have been Harry Enfield."
BBC Andy McNab Interview (1999)
He joined the army after being done for breaking and entering, and had killed a man by the age of 19. He was stuck in Winchester during the Falklands war, when it seemed every time there was an operation to go on, the SAS got to go, so Andy McNab decided to join that elite service. On an SAS operation behind Iraqi lines during the Gulf war, the patrol McNab was leading was attacked. Three members died, one escaped to Syria, and four - including McNab - were captured and tortured. McNab's book about the experience, Bravo Two Zero, has sold over a million and a half copies. Another book, Immediate Action, followed - and now a BBC film starring Sean Bean. McNab relaxes by riding his 850cc Yamaha, and studying medieval history. Andy McNab is not his real name.
Do you see the filming of Bravo Two Zero as setting the record straight after the earlier controversial TV movie based on Chris Ryan's The One That Got Away? (David Fevyer, Bournemouth)
Not really no because the same TV production company approached me to do Bravo Two Zero before they approached Chris and they wanted to do the same thing with Bravo. I turned down their offer.
What did you think of your character portrayd in The One That Got Away, and was there really much animosity between you and Chris Ryan? (Colin Lugwardine)
The whole thing was certainly unfair to the dead people who can't defend themselves. At the time I was really annoyed and so were the rest of the patrol. What I understand now is that it's all to do with money and viewing figures. Unfortunately, Chris got ripped off and lost control which is a shame because he has taken the blame for something which is not necessarily his fault. There was hostility to him within the regiment One of the squadrons came back from a trip and went knocking on his door. It just got out of control and he's had to move out of Hereford (where the SAS is based). He doesn't deserve it. Now I'm involved in television, I understand the concern with viewing figures. Chris Ryan was probably badly advised.
What role have you played in the filming of Bravo Two Zero?
I went to South Africa with the crew and talked to the director who had the challenge of creating the illusion of realism. So I was helping to create that illusion and help the actors. They might ask what I would be feeling in certain situations. So I gave both technical advice and shared my experience. We didn't have formal sessions but we'd start casual conversations. One torture scene we filmed in an empty prison was actually quite hard for me to watch.
Do you think that by revealing so much of the SAS's methods of operation you have made future activites more difficult for the regiment? (Gary Humphrey, Rochester)
No, absolutely not. All three books have gone through the official vetting process. You can give someone a car manual but it's unlikely they will be able to strip the car. There have been loads of books about the regiment before Bravo Two Zero. It's nothing new. The authorities are happy provided there's nothing that will compromise operations. The regiment's main activities in Bosnia, the Gulf and Northern Ireland are well-known, but the more sensitive operations are protected by feeding the public information on the high profile work.
Does Britain still need the SAS?
Even more so. We no longer have a heavy standing army. To get a rapid action force anywhere in the world you need a forward 'recce' group to secure a landing. Quick reaction troops are more valuable than ever. The infantry will still be doing the same thing, but the emphasis will be on force projection using C-17 aircraft. We'll be able to move a brigade from one end of the world to another within 24 hours, which is a whole new concept for the Brits and the SAS will work on advance preparation.
Would you do the Gulf War mission again, and if so would you do it differently? (Russell, West Kirby)
With hindsight we wouldn't have been sent out in the first place. It's very strange when the experts talk about it. They weren't there when the decisions were made so they don't know the background. It's not a science. When people were criticising General Norman Shwartzkopf (Gulf War commander) for sending our patrol out he said 'that's all well and good but I didn't see these people when these decisions were being made.' I wouldn't do the mission now because I know it would have been a failure. There were more than 3,000 Iraqi troops in the area, effectively two armoured brigades that shouldn't have been there that intelligence hadn't picked up. They only discovered this about four days after we arrived!
Is bombing Iraq an effective policy?
Bombing is effective if there is an aim. If it's just to bomb for the sake of it, there's no point. During the recent raids Britain made it sound like we have a big influence. The Americans sent in about 400 aircraft and the Brits a small fraction of that. Bombing to kill people doesn't achieve anything. Now the West is beginning to say it's actively trying to get Saddam out and so the bombs might have a real purpose.
Is it difficult for British troops to serve American officers?
No not at all. Basically, the US and British
special forces have joint operations and training. At the end
the day the Americans and the Foreign Office are our biggest employers. There's nothing new to the
Do you still suffer any lasting damage from the torture you endured under the Iraqis? How do you deal with this? (Lee Marriot, Moscow, Russia)
I don't find it difficult to talk about. I have a permanent sensory and mobility problem with the left index finger and I can't open a drinks can with it. The rest of my fingers have recovered. The nerves started to form again at the base of the spine. There's obviously still scarring but kids get that from falling over. If I start drinking fluids, I do have to go straight to the toilet. I don't hold water well. That's really it. The teeth have been fixed and screwed in!
Have you ever thought about helping people recover or prepare experiences of torture and interrogation?
I work with the FBI on a programme called 'agent enrichment'. In the past they've had undercover people taken in Mexico and South America. I've also just finished a video for the for the Harrier pilots in the Fleet Arm who face the possibility of going down in a place like Bosnia. I'm not involved in any post-capture treatment groups, although I do know John McCarthy and Terry Waite. What they suffered during five years of confinement and all the accompanying uncertainty is much worse than my own experience.
Do you ever wish you had killed the shepherd boy who accidentally discovered where your SAS unit? (Greg Hyde, Westbury)
No. Emotionally, as human beings and fathers we just would not want to do that. On the technical side we couldn't kill him because soldiers operating in enemy territory are not going to last five minutes if they are captured after killing kids. If we shot him as he ran away, we would have given our position away and if we killed the kid we would have had to take the body with us too. We never leave anything behind. Basically, it would have counter-productive.
Why are people so fascinated by the SAS and its operations.
Much of it is built up by the media. There
have always been books about the SAS even before the Iranian Embassy
siege. I bought the books and the Daily Express picture special.
The idea of the SAS did seem glamorous to me before I started
training for selection, but the month long process is designed
to weed out people who think they are going to be James Bond.
Your job is to be a professional soldier. The undercover work
comes at a later date. You need to learn the foundations first.
When you are admitted the regiment gives you proper training.
People too have different aptitudes. For example, the Fijians
wouldn't be any use
undercover in Northern Ireland.
If the conflict resumes in Northern Ireland do you think the paramilitaries could be defeated militarily?
No absolutely not. We fight, rightly, under a lot of restrictions because we have to adhere to the civil law and the paramilitaries should be treated as criminals rather than terrorist organisations. Clinically speaking, they have already won and that's why we've been there 30 years. Our opponents don't obey the same rules. If you look at the majority of terrorist actions around the world, it seems to work.
How do you the compare the pressure working in Iraq with active duty in Northern Ireland?
There's more stress working in Northern Ireland because there's quite a lot of political pressure. People allege there's a shoot to kill policy, but there isn't any. When you get involved in an incident you don't just come back and drink tea. Weapons go to forensics and they take statements. Sometimes your hands are bagged so your story is tested against the evidence from forensics. If it doesn't match, you will be prosecuted. On a couple of occasions as an eighteen year old soldier I was confused, but at the end of the day if you're old enough to vote, you should be old enough to fight. It's the army's job to make sure soldiers know what they're doing.
How important is it to maintain your anonymity?
It's not as drastic as it sounds. It's not cloak and dagger stuff. I'm just protecting my visual identity. I have had some death threats, but if they were really serious they wouldn't warn you. It's probably Irish terrorism. Some organisations know which members I have killed. If you start opening supermarkets, then you are making yourself a target and you endanger the people around you. I wouldn't ever do book signings. Explosives have been found in bookshops before. Basically, it's not something that gives me sleepless nights.
Have you ever considered mercenary work?
No. They don't pay enough. I don't know
anyone who does it for money. There are three major security
companies that hire former members of the regiment. These jobs are extremely well paid and mainly send the ex-soldiers overseas to use their knowledge and skills, but it's not about living in Bosnian trenches.
You're an admirer of the First World War soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon who faced disciplinary action for refusing to continue fighting. Have you ever felt similar conscientious objections?
Not really. I know people who have. The ethos of the regiment is that if you don't want to do certain kinds of work then you're expected to leave to army. I knew a guy called Frank who became a priest and got out. However battlefield conditions do literally conflict with your life. You are scared and you don't want to be doing it. If soldiers aren't scared, then they're lying, but as a professional soldier you learn to overcome fear with training and knowledge. Understanding you're afraid actually helps you do the job. My own experience in Iraq didn't prevent me from staying another two years in the army. Nine out of ten times the SAS's job is to stay out of hand to hand combat. We're not big enough to attack other soldiers. Our job is to sabotage power supplies and communications. We have an ethic of shoot and scoot. And you don't think 'I'm doing this for Britain'. From the Korean War onwards, soldiers have been in conflicts for economic reasons, to correct political mistakes and to maintain influence.
What are your future plans?
I'm in talks with Hollywood about filming Remote Control and I have to finish its sequel book by the end of the month. I'm also going to be working on a new thriller with the BBC.
Sunday Times (Jan 3/99)
Born to live behind and between the lines
Who dares cleans up, as Andy McNab, the former Special Air Service sergeant who became a multimillionaire through his book on the Bravo Two Zero patrol in the 1991 Gulf war could testify. Tonight and tomorrow Bravo Two Zero comes to our television screens in a special two-part BBC adaptation, so McNab - who also has a thriving career on the lecture circuit and as an adviser to Hollywood on what real violence looks like - will become even more famous.
But just as anonymous, for, as a soldier who killed his first IRA terrorist at the age of 19, McNab considers it prudent not to be photographed. This may be a personal obsession (although those shadowy, mysterious silhouettes are great publicity), but he undeniably embodies a will-o'-the-wisp elusiveness that is not wholly contrived. McNab, of course, is not his real name, and the couple who brought him up - an Irish Catholic mother and an Anglican father - were not his real parents. His real mother left him as an infant in a Harrods carrier bag on the steps of Guy's hospital, London. He has never had any wish to discover who his real parents were. McNab is a nom de plume, wrapped in an alias, concealed in an enigma.
The engima at the heart of McNab is not only what sort of man he is (married four times at the age of 38, his love life has been turbulent to put it mildly) but whether his claim on our admiration is authentic. His doggedness, whether under fire or enduring torture, is astonishing. "You've lost people, all right," he says, "but you don't sit around having tea and toast and talking about them. You just crack on." And yet his eight-man patrol (three of whom died) killed an estimated 250 Iraqi troops between them, mostly in close-range firefights. It is an awesome, if unfashionable, reminder of how warlike the British can be if the mood takes them.
McNab witnessed his first death at the age of eight when a member of his schoolboy gang fell 30ft through a skylight onto a concrete floor as they played in a derelict building. His childhood in Peckham, south London, was unsettled and he moved house nine times, attending seven different schools. Although he would grow into a whippet-lean 11st, he was plump as a youngster and took to running to lose unwanted weight and avoid gibes.
Not much good at school, McNab turned to petty crime. He stole car radios, dabbled in burglary in Dulwich and had a spell "tipping over Portaloos so I could nick the occupants' handbags". At 15 he was driving delivery lorries, having failed to gain entry to the masonic world of the still-powerful print unions. He got caught for breaking and entering and was sent, briefly, to a detention centre.
"I really hated that," he says. "I thought there was only one way I was going to get out of my miserable life, and that was by joining the army. Don't forget that the adverts at the time told you everybody would want to employ you when you got out and there were pictures of windsurfers and sunny beaches - 'See the world!' It all sounded brilliant. I barely knew where Northern Ireland was, let alone what was going on there."
McNab signed up and was posted to Northern Ireland. On patrol in Crossmaglen at the age of 18 he saw an army colleague die for the first time. His friend was trying to lower a booby-trapped Irish tricolour when 1 1/2 lb of explosive went off: "The top half of his body had been taken out completely. Bits of him were hanging off the armoured vehicle. Everyone in the town was pouring out of the pubs, cheering."
The following year he killed a terrorist in south Armagh. "It was very exciting for a 19-year-old. There was the adrenaline rush, and the thought of the credibility it would bring." Afterwards, when the high had worn off, he felt scared. "I didn't like people trying to kill me. It's not a natural thing to shoot at somebody and have somebody shoot at you."
The army gave structure and discipline to his life but no overweening love of traditional authority. There was a rude awakening when he was promoted. "I was thinking, 'Great, I'm a full corporal now - so in other words I'm God.' But then I was made to go grouse-beating for the brigadier and his mates. I didn't have a choice, and I really hated that." The obvious way to fulfil his individuality was to join the SAS - a glamour unit in the British public's eyes since the Iranian embassy siege of 1980, its reputation further burnished by derring-do exploits in the 1982 Falklands war. McNab joined in 1984.
Formally, his specialisations were "counter-terrorism, prime target elimination, demolitions, weapons and tactics, covert surveillance and information-gathering in hostile environments and VIP protection", tasks that took him to the Middle and Far East and South and Central America as well as spending two years undercover in Londonderry. It was in Northern Ireland, however - urinating in plastic cans and wrapping his faeces in clingfilm in order to leave no trace at a surveillance point - that the strange skills of the secret commando were honed. "Nobody in the world," he says, "has the sort of continuous experience over 20 years that we have had."
McNab's patrol in Iraq - ostensibly to sabotage Scud missiles - turned into an old-fashioned military cock-up. Dropped in the wrong place, the unit was discovered by a child goatherd who McNab wisely decided not to kill ("Too much noise; anyway, I wouldn't want that on my conscience for the rest of my life"). After numerous engagements one member of the patrol, Chris Ryan, escaped to Syria, three died, and the remainder - including McNab - were captured and tortured. Released at the end of the war, McNab added a Distinguished Conduct Medal to the Military Medal he had won in Northern Ireland, and Bravo Two Zero became the most decorated patrol since the Boer war.
He left the SAS in 1993, but despite the amazing success of his book - £1.5m sales in the UK alone - some of civvy street's problems seemed more intractable than those posed by Saddam Hussein. His first and second marriages had ended speedily (he exited the second, in proper SAS style, by jumping out of a first-floor window) and his third, by which he had a young daughter, was on the rocks by the time he was in the Gulf. His third wife, now remarried, wrote a book claiming that SAS men were sex-mad sadists. (The SAS, reportedly, has a divorce rate of about 40%.) "I was very selfish, I admit," McNab says. "My career came before my marriages. I'm sorry for my wives. They had to put up with a lot."
He also fell out with Chris Ryan, who wrote his own book about the ill-fated patrol (made into a 1996 television film), The One That Got Away. McNab was unflatteringly portrayed as a gung ho glory seeker with an obsessive hatred of "ragheads", and legal skirmishes and cutting-room amendments ensued. "It makes us look like a Mickey Mouse operation," McNab raged.
Only those there at the time know the whole truth but McNab contemptuously rejected a Hollywood proposal for a movie where the patrol bungled an assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein and Mel Gibson rode to the rescue.
The other civvy street problem was the military establishment, which took a dim view of the literary efforts of squaddies. Although Sir Peter de la Billière, former head of the SAS and British commander in the Gulf war, had written his memoirs, McNab was reportedly banned from the regiment's Hereford headquarters after his own book came out. "It was a class thing," he says. "Historically, it would be senior officers telling the story of a war. What I have done is give the faceworker's view of it."
The class thing still irritates him, despite his wealth. He once bought a £64,000 Porsche in Park Lane because the salesman got snooty with him for wandering around the showroom in his tracksuit bottoms and motorcycle helmet. "It was 'Can I help you?' which means 'F*** off.' Really annoying. Really annoying. So I turned round and thought, 'Right, I'm gonna get one of these.' " It was a lucky day for the salesman, but you can't help thinking it was even luckier that he didn't get up McNab's nose somewhere else, such as in the middle of the Iraqi desert.
Sunday Times (Culture) (Dec 6/98)
Members of the famous SAS patrol whose mission to destroy Scud missile-launchers during the Gulf war so cruelly failed, have, famously, continued to give conflicting accounts of what actually happened (three so far and counting). An ITV film based on a rival account by Chris Ryan, The One That Got Away, provoked relatives of those who died to complain vehemently about alleged distortions. Now Andy McNab, leader of the patrol, has taken drastic action to make sure that the screen version of his bestseller, Bravo Two Zero, is not marred by dissenting voices when the BBC screens it next year, with Sean Bean starring. McNab has split his entire rights fee - reckoned to be £80,000 - between the survivors and the families of those who died.
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