Taking The Flak. Image shows from L to R: Rory Wallace (Damian O'Hare), Jane Thomason (Doon Mackichan), David Bradburn (Martin Jarvis), Joyful Sifuri (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith), Margaret Hollis (Joanna Brookes), Harry Chambers (Bruce Mackinnon), Grace Matiko (Lydiah Gitachu). Copyright: BBC.

Taking The Flak

BBC Two comedy drama / sitcom. 7 episodes (1 series) in 2009. Stars Martin Jarvis, Doon Mackichan, Bruce Mackinnon, Joanna Brookes, Damian O'Hare, Lydiah Gitachu, Lucy Chalkley and others.

David Bradburn

Played by: Martin Jarvis
Taking The Flak. David Bradburn (Martin Jarvis). Copyright: BBC.

David Bradburn is the BBC's preening and lazy senior foreign correspondent. He is a BBC News 'heavyweight' who, because familiar to British viewers, is sent to Africa to take over reporting duties on the war as it starts to escalate. The problem is, he doesn't know anything about what's actually going on... but he somehow always seems to get away with it. The first report he files from Karibu is based on scant information gleened in a 30 second Q&A with the nearest hotel waiter! However, being a total pro, Bradburn still manages to come across as authoritative and knowledgeable.

Bradburn is a ladies man and knows all the tricks of the trade to woe the women. However, he's now getting on a bit age wise so is finding things a little tougher. Simply saying "do you recognise me from the TV" and offering the lady a signed copy of his book (he always carries a spare) is no longer enough.

Jane Thomason

Played by: Doon Mackichan
Taking The Flak. Jane Thomason (Doon Mackichan). Copyright: BBC.

Resourceful but often stressed Jane is the news producer flown into Karibu by the BBC to oversee its news gathering operations in the country during the war.

Jane's task is to keep the BBC reporting team in Karibu safe, functioning and alert. She is a bit of a dogsbody and, as the team is both under-equipped and under-funded, must often bend the rules to get the job done.

Jane often has her ear glued to a mobile phone as she is constantly taking orders from the desk producers back in England who want frequent filmed updates featuring David... the only problem is, Bradburn and the rest of the team are never around to file the stories when she needs them to be.

Harry Chambers

Played by: Bruce Mackinnon
Taking The Flak. Harry Chambers (Bruce Mackinnon). Copyright: BBC.

Local 'stringer' Harry is hanging on to the bottom of the journalist ladder and thinks the war will be his big break. But he finds himself 'bigfooted' when the BBC News heavyweights, including the experienced war reporter Bradburn, arrive in town.

However, with his local knowledge, Harry soon finds he has an edge over the team that has come in from London. When he manages to trump Bradburn and file an exclusive report on the News At Ten, the team from London realise they must start paying more attention to the local boy.

Margaret Hollis

Played by: Joanna Brookes
Taking The Flak. Margaret Hollis (Joanna Brookes). Copyright: BBC.

Margaret Hollis is a radio reporter for the BBC World Service. Like Bradburn, she has been all over the world reporting on wars.

Despite working in a different medium and for the same network, the TV crew still view Margaret as a rival and thus often try and trip her up as she attempts to get a story.

Margaret reveals herself to be quite sad and lonely. Unlike all the others, she hasn't managed to get involved in any kind of foreign romance on any of her trips abroad. This might have something to do with her bowels - Margaret frequently suffers terribly from an upset stomach and so is always on the look out for the nearest loo.

Rory Wallace

Played by: Damian O'Hare
Taking The Flak. Rory Wallace (Damian O'Hare). Copyright: BBC.

Rory is the laid back cameraman who has been jetted in by the BBC to film Bradburn's various news reports. He's an experienced cameraman who knows to capture the pictures that London wants to see - which is basically lots of shots of people shooting at each other and creating big explosions.

Grace Matiko

Played by: Lydiah Gitachu
Taking The Flak. Grace Matiko (Lydiah Gitachu). Copyright: BBC.

Grace is the receptionist at the hotel where the BBC team (and the journalists from all the other networks) are staying.

She is a bit fed up with the fact the press corp have taken over the hotel. Journalists are much more trying and demanding than normal guests!

Grace is in an on-off relationship with Harry. Technically they're going out, but as Grace is always complaining about Harry being inferior at just about everything, one isn't always sure.

Samantha Cunningham Fleming

Played by: Lucy Chalkley
Taking The Flak. Samantha Cunningham Fleming (Lucy Chalkley). Copyright: BBC.

Posh charity worker Samantha has never had to do a hard days work in her life. She comes from a very wealthy background and so is a little out-of-touch with the real world.

Patronising and more than a little ditsy, Samantha has been living in Karibu for a while. She has setup a charity called Sons Without Guns, which aims to help boy soldiers. She doesn't seem to notice the kids she helps are dangerous - for example, when they kidnap David and Rory, she just says that is "quite naughty" of them.

Joyful Sifuri

Taking The Flak. Joyful Sifuri (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith). Copyright: BBC.

Joyful is the team's happy-go-lucky local fixer. He has been working for Harry since the rookie arrived in the country a couple of years ago, but Joyful now finds himself working for the whole BBC team.

Joyful's job is to use his local knowledge to help the BBC team with whatever they need - whether it be escaping from a mine field, or finding out the contact details of a potential source. At one point Joyful even has to pretend to be an expert in internation relations for a two-way interview with Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams for BBC Breakfast.