The Execution of Gary Glitter

The Execution of Gary Glitter has caused a fair amount of controversy and sniggering already, so now it’s finally aired, what have we learned?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What was in the show? Well, for a kick-off, it was like watching a weird version of Time Trumpet. However, instead of the set-up being ‘…and here’s a ludicrous, hyper-real vision of the ridiculous future that our idiot species is heading for in full technicolour with some belly-laughs…‘, it’s a super-depressing look into a world gone mental. A world where Garry Bushell is no longer the voice of The Silent Majority, but rather, The Honking Trap Of The Fetid Bile Merchant, ready with a pitchfork.

A lot of people will have invariably made (the crushingly obvious) comparison to that infamous BrassEye ‘special’, which hoodwinked many into believing it was all real. That was funny because it made people look daft by virtue of the fact that someone could feasibly believe in a show that featured a man disguised as a primary school.

However, this show had no joke or punchline. It was horribly believable in places. The use of real talking heads as mouthpieces (Miranda Sawyer, Ann Widdicombe, the aforementioned Garry Bushell) gave the programme an eerie foot in reality. Anyone accidentally tuning into this could easily see it as a documentary and think ‘justice done’.

The whole thing made me squirm. Firstly, because the show preyed on a bloodluster’s worst traits, but worse still, it preyed on the supposed intelligentsia’s feeling that ‘proles’ are all out to lynch anyone even stood close to the sex offenders register.

Of course, this show is a product of a million Facebook groups that have sprouted out of the various blood-curdling cries for the head of Ian Huntley or Baby P’s killers. Whilst the need for a public flogging may be as old as these shores, the show felt like a product of a very modern face-off, with those wanting to sneer at ‘the idiots’ and those wanting an eye-for-an-eye.

It’s this point that was most important because, whilst there is no doubt that Channel 4 will have wanted to kick-start a debate, the close of the show left us with a whole series of debates addressed… except the one that the show was pinned on… and that is: Should we bring back the death penalty?

Furthermore, you get the impression that many of those assumed herd-mentalists who were shown on the show, marching on Downing Street with signs reading ‘PEEDO SCUM’, aren’t necessarily going to be tuning in for a dialogue heavy Channel 4 mockumentary.

At least the show provided a scene so preposterous that it was almost funny… notably, something I shall refer to as The Remix Scene. For some inexplicable reason, they featured a remix of ‘Leader of the Gang’ with the word ‘ponce’ crudely plastered all over it. I assumed that the chorus was going to be “Do you wanna see a Glitter hang? Glitter hang? Glitter hang? Do you wanna see a Glitter hang? Oh yeah!” Mercifully, it didn’t stoop as low as my thought-process.

Now the show is over, with its mixture of incredibly believable portrayals and, well, shall we say, absolute horseshit performances, everyone is no doubt going ape over sections of the show and getting involved in a debate that the show itself was too chicken to tackle. An issue dealt with more movingly in Let Him Have It and Dancer In The Dark.

Basically, The Execution of Gary Glitter featured an alternative universe Britain which saw British politicians cowing to the violent mob, seemingly, without any consequence at all. In itself, that’s the most irritating thing of all. The show barely scratched the surface of the issue at hand and rather, simply read out the programme title over and over again until everyone got a bit bored or uneasy. Quite why they felt the need to choose a celebrity criminal is obvious, but really, not altogether necessary.

Sometimes, I convince myself that the People Of Britain are no better than those that inhabit Springfield. The newspapers are filled with comments and letters of people saying “BRING BACK HANGING!” and online, it gets even more bloodlusty. Twitter is fast becoming a vehicle for the internet left-wing lynch mob and Facebook groups can unveil a frankly troubling penchant for people wanting to murder various criminals.

Channel 4 has decided to look at the lynching mentality and is running a season on the death penalty. There’s news of online debates and the like, but the most graphic and startling of them all is a show that will see the hanging of Gary Glitter.

Obviously, it’s a ficticious account (I don’t think TV is ready – just yet – to start televising executions) and set in a Britain where the death penalty has been reintroduced for certain crimes. Glitter is the first to be tried under the new capital punishment legislation.

You probably don’t need telling that it will see Glitter being hanged following a public outcry over his child abuse cases .

Apparently, Channel 4 contacted Glitter to inform him of the film, The Execution of Gary Glitter, which will be broadcast on November 9th.

Head of documentaries Hamish Mykura told The Mirror: “High profile crimes against children often prompt calls for the death penalty. This drama confronts the public with what many say they want.”

To launch the drama, Channel 4 commissioned a survey in which 70 per cent said the death penalty should be brought back for certain crimes.


[via Telegraph]

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