TV drama on Prince Harry's kidnapping to go ahead
Posted on: 02:57 PM IST Oct 19, 2010
London: A controversial television drama about Prince Harry's 'kidnapping' in war-torn Afghanistan is to go ahead, after broadcaster Channel 4 turned down a request by UK's defence chief not to air the show, a media report said.
Britain's Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup urged the broadcaster not to show the programme that examines what would happen if the 26-year-old third-in-line to the British throne was to be captured while serving on the Afghan frontline.
In a letter to Channel 4 Chairman Lord Burns, the Chief of Defence Staff argued that the 90-minute programme, 'The Taking of Prince Harry' would be distressing for service families and might undermine morale by detailing how the UK government approaches hostage negotiations.
But, a Channel 4 spokeswoman said the programme would be aired as planned on Thursday, the 'Daily Express' reported.
She said: "We have written to Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup replying to his concerns. The film is rooted in expert testimony and is a serious journalistic examination of a current issue. It treats the subject matter sensitively.
"It is a legitimate subject for documentary to explore the risks that Prince Harry faces as a high-value target, and to seek to understand the nature of the dangers to a royal in the modern theatre of war as well as political implications."
However, a defence source said: "If Channel 4 goes ahead, as looks likely, they'll fail in their duty to respect the sacrifices our Armed Forces and their families make. They will no doubt say this is a serious journalistic exercise but no responsible broadcaster would treat such a serious subject with such casual disregard."
The programme includes scenes showing Harry, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines. He is shown having a gun pointed in his face and being forced to appear in Taliban and al-Qaeda propaganda broadcasts.