The Execution of Gary Glitter Review: Leader To Be Hanged
THE EXECUTION OF GARY GLITTER: Monday 9th November, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME
In an independent poll carried out earlier this year, 54% of the people surveyed thought the UK should bring back the death penalty for the most serious crimes.
When capital punishment was revoked in 1969, many experts predicted that support for it would eventually fade.
Evidently this has not happened and Channel 4 will go some way to blowing the debate open again with this thought-provoking and carefully constructed piece of television.
In Gary Glitter, they have found the perfect centre-piece. There are few stars that have fallen as far and as hard as the seventies glam-rock singer.
He recently returned to live in the UK after serving a prison sentence for molesting children in Vietnam, and is – according to rumour – planning a comeback album.
His fate in this hard-hitting drama is not so comfortable.
The Execution of Gary Glitter is set in a modern-day Britain that has recently re-introduced hanging as the maximum possible sentence for those guilty of murder or child-rape.
Shot as a documentary, the piece vividly and relentlessly creates a very tangible society in which people have reacted to incidents like the Soham murders by demanding a return to the days of capital punishment.
Quite predictably, the writers have enthusiastically portrayed Glitter as an odious and arrogant individual by blending plenty of his actual excuses into the script.
When asked about the controversial material, Channel 4 drama boss Hamish Mykura said: “High profile crimes against children often prompt calls for the return of the death penalty – this drama confronts the public with what many say they want.”
It certainly does, but we can definitely feel this programme tilt in favour of the pro death-penalty campaigners, with the fictional reintroduction presented as a return of power to the people and a victory for the working-class against ivory-tower dwelling liberals.
Make sure you check tonight’s other big TV, Collision, while you’re at it. If you’re looking for something a little more morally ambiguous, read our list of the Top 6 Unintentionally Hilarious On-Screen Deaths, our review of Race and Intelligence’s two documentaries: Is It Better to be Mixed Race? and Science’s Last Taboo….
Whats this? – Gary Glitter to sue Channel 4!?