Young Nick Calshaw returns from fighting the war in Afghanistan with half his face terribly scarred due to a female suicide bomber. His family and schoolteacher girlfriend Gemma are horrified but try to act normally for his sake. However,he fails to get his old job back and feels people stare at him. After causing a scene in public he admits to his best friend that he should have shot the suicide bomber but failed to because she had a baby with her. As a result some other lads were killed and he was disfigured. Following a row with Gemma he deliberately steps in front of a taxi whose Muslim driver Hasam takes him to hospital, saving his life. An appreciative Nick is given some hope as to the good in people and invites Hasam to his wedding to Gemma, where his family all support him.
On the street, a phone is ringing in the Calshaw's house but nobody's home. TA soldier Private Nick Calshaw (Jonas Armstrong) is calling from Afghanistan. He's managed to get hold of a satellite phone and sneak a call to tell his family that he's okay. The answer phone kicks in and he leaves a message. On her return from school his sister Ellie (Kirstie Leigh Porter) plays back the message. As Nick talks, there are panicked shouts in the background, a baby starts to cry, someone shouts "Shoot her!", there's a massive explosion and the line goes dead.
Ellie calls her parents Alan (Ian Pulston Davies) and Kim (Siobhan Finneran) who come rushing home, frantic with worry. Nick's fiancee Gemma (Emily Beecham) runs out of the school where she's teaching. Later, two army officials call at the house, to tell them there's been an incident in Afghanistan that their son was involved in.
Nick is travelling home on a train with fellow squaddie, Rob (Lee Turnball), while back on the street his family are preparing a welcome home party. A little boy on the train looks at Nick and screws up his face. A baby's crying on the train is really getting to Nick. They notice a Muslim Arab couple amongst their fellow passengers and Rob says he hates Muslims. Nick can't take any more of Rob's attitudes and incessant talking. He goes to the toilet and looks in the mirror at his horribly scarred face.
As Nick emerges from the taxi outside his family home, the full extent of his facial disfigurement is revealed to his shocked parents and Ellie. The full horror of what has happened to their beautiful Nick comes home. Everyone is trying to play down his horrific injury. Nick can't take it anymore and leaves seeking sanctuary with his girlfriend, Gemma. They embrace and have a heartfelt reunion.
But, in spite of being surrounded by those who love him, Nick's becoming increasingly depressed and withdrawn. He can't find work looking like he does. The army won't take him back because he's bad for morale. He starts to seek refuge in drink and drugs.
What's more, Nick keeps listening to his answer phone message over and over, timing it. It becomes clear that back on that terrible day in Afghanistan he had eight seconds to react to a life-threatening situation. But was the choice he made right? Guilt is eating him up. The question is: could he have saved his friends lives? He didn't shoot the suicide bomber because he says his rifle jammed but did it? Will he ever be whole again and be able to heal from the inside out?
source: BBC The Street Press Pack http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/06_june/17/street3.shtml