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Friday, 3 November, 2000, 16:05 GMT
Channel 4 film hires criminals
Cocaine
Shooters focuses on the world of cocaine and guns
Channel 4 has been criticised for using former criminals in a film about the world of guns and drugs.

The fictional film Shooters, to be shown next Tuesday, includes mocked-up scenes of murder and an incident where one villain bites another man's ear off in a fight.


They bring their real life experience to the roles

Channel 4 spokesman

The gangster movie is being shown as part of the documentary series, Cutting Edge.

The programme has been condemned by victims' groups.

Norman Brennan, from the Victims of Crime Trust, said: "Do we really want to see criminals on the television re-enacting crimes they may or may not have committed themselves?"

He added: "Society is getting sick and tired of criminals benefiting from their past in any way, whether they are paid or not.

"I wonder if Channel 4's advertisers know what's going on?"

But a Channel 4 spokesman told BBC News Online that the use of former criminals did not glamorise violence.

"There are people in the film from a specific part of Liverpool and some do have a criminal record," said the spokesman.

None paid

"The film is not a glamorised portrayal of this world in the slightest," he added.

The movie was made by documentary maker Dan Reid, who had originally planned to make a factual film about guns and drug-running in Britain's inner cities.

But Reid decided instead to use the knowledge of criminals interviewed for the documentary to make the fictional version.

"Dan has sought to tell the story of the people involved in this world, through their eyes, but on his terms," said the spokesman.

Channel 4 gave its approval to use the convicted criminals from the outset and none have been paid for their part in the film.

"They bring their real life experience to the roles. It is experience an actor would not have," said the spokesman.

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See also:

01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Bremner impersonates 'Diana's ghost'
16 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
'Banned' film gets TV première
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