Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? How long did it take for the whole project to come together? What problems did they have? What did they worry about?
We asked some of the crew to share their experiences.
Will Hughes-Jones, Production Designer
Q: How important was health and safety?
This was paramount due to the nature of the sets; in particular the bomb site. A structural engineer had to look over the building first to check its suitability.
We then - in conjunction with special effects - built a set that, when fully functioning, would give the impression of a burning building with burning cars and partially-collapsed buildings surrounding it.
All aspects of safety had to be addressed from fire on set, to informing City Airport - which was quite close by - that the large amount of smoke was the BBC and not anything sinister.
We obviously had to inform all the relevant emergency services of our actions in their area, and whenever we had fire on set we had to have our own private fire cover, so as not to take the fire brigade's standby crews away from normal duty.
Q: Were the decontamination shower units real, or did you have to construct them?
They were real. We approached a few companies who manufacture them to see if they could supply the equipment. Two companies came forward and they were also able to use the scenes in the film as practice drills for themselves.
Q: What part of the film did you find the most challenging and why?
The most challenging thing for me was twofold. Firstly, keeping up with events about this subject was hard because it changed from one day to the next. What was really important was making sure it was as accurate as possible, which sometimes meant a whole new tack when a new piece of information came in.
Secondly, in order to keep it accurate we did things that no one - as far as I know - has ever tried before. We created a thick body of smoke, filled with ash, and made it sweep across a road in central London. This wasn't built in a studio... we did it for real.
Luke Alkin, Producer
Q: How did you deal with the strong Current Affairs element running through this drama documentary?
First and foremost by having a fantastic research team, headed up by Stephen Barrett who learnt his skills on The Today Programme. He and the team compiled exhaustive research material and constantly kept director Dan, writer Lizzie and myself up to date as the script was being developed.
Any creative decision we made always originated in the facts presented by the research. So in coming up with a new scene or moment in the film, the questions we always asked were: is this accurate? Is this dramatic? Will this tell the audience something?
This process continued throughout the filming and editing. Making dramas like Dirty War takes a long time so we even filmed different versions of scenes so that we could ensure our facts were as up to date as possible when the film was transmitted.
Q: What were some of the main criteria for choosing the cast?
Our number one criteria was to cast actors who were absolutely credible in their roles.
We also decided at the beginning not to go for household names. We felt that if we had very well-known faces in the roles, this might undermine the credibility of the film for the audience.
Throughout the casting - and the filming - the director was striving to achieve natural performances.
Q: How much emphasis was placed on informing the public about what to do if a dirty bomb actually exploded in the UK?
The film is about many things: the reality of the job firemen now face in dealing with potential terrorist attacks; the intelligence war being fought every day by our police trying to stop terrorists; the decisions politicians make when allocating funding and deciding on policy in this area; the details of how terrorists operate.
However, the single most important reason for making it was to portray the reality of this kind of terrorist attack and provide a public service, telling people how to deal with this kind of situation, beyond the information already given out by the government.
There are lots of details presented in the film but we hope that people will also be motivated to find out more about what they need to know. This website is obviously a good place to start!
Stephen Barrett, Research Producer
Q: How long did it take you to complete the research for this film?
In total it took 14 months. I was first warned about it in October 2002 but the research didn't start until February 2003. I have to give credit to my fantastic assistant producer Naomi Bradford and fellow researcher Jenny McVeigh for their efforts, as without them it might have taken me much longer!
Q: Where did you start on such a big project?
I started with the basics. I had to ask myself questions like, what is a dirty bomb? Is it feasible that an attack like this would happen in London? Who would use these dirty bombs? How would we try to stop it? And what would the consequences be?
Q: How did you find your sources?
Generally, experts were recommended to me. These experts would then refer me to other contacts and it went on like that. Naturally, there were a number of people who didn't want to talk about such sensitive issues, so this caused a few problems. There were a few people who didn't think that the idea of catastrophic terrorism was much of a threat.
However my team and I were able to develop good working relationships with a whole range of experts from many different fields and this enabled us to navigate through such a huge and sensitive area.
Q: Were there terror experts on set to give advice?
Absolutely. We had experts for every topic: terror, police, fire, chemical/biological/radiation. They were all at the rehearsals for their relevant scenes and guided us during filming. They were on hand to answer questions from both cast and crew. Basically, if we didn't know the answer, we brought in an expert!
Yvonne Ibazebo, Line Producer
Q: What is the Line Producer responsible for?
My job starts once the script has been approved and a budget allocated for production. I organise the crew - from heads of departments to runners - agreeing the rate and doing the deals.
I also discuss various areas with the heads of departments: design, camera equipment, locations, and work out a budget for each of them to work to. Then there's looking after the day-to-day, making sure we achieve the shooting schedule and are within our budget.
Q: What was the atmosphere like on set among cast and crew?
The atmosphere was great. Most us had already met because the project was originally scheduled a few months earlier and then cancelled, so we were already familiar with the project and really wanted it to go ahead. It was like a reunion. We were all also conscious of working on something "out of the ordinary", so there was great team spirit.
Q: Being such a central member of the production team, were you constantly on-call?
Dirty War was well organised and had a highly talented crew on board. Even though I was on call the phone hardly ever rang "after hours".