Gary Glitter faces 'death penalty' in fictional TV drama

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The Independent Online

Fallen pop star and sex offender Gary Glitter is to face the death penalty in a fictionalised Channel 4 drama.

The controversial 90-minute film is set in a Britain which has reintroduced capital punishment and will be part of an examination of public attitudes towards the return of the death sentence.

Glitter signed the sex offenders register when he returned to the UK last year after being jailed for child sex offences in Vietnam. He had previously been jailed for four months in the UK in 1999 for downloading child porn.

In the Channel 4 programme, The Execution of Gary Glitter, public revulsion has led to the return of the death sentence and the first person to be tried under the new Capital Crimes Against Children legislation is Glitter.

The plot sees him charged with "sex crimes against children", according to the broadcaster, and facing the possibility of becoming the first person to be executed in Britain in almost half a century if found guilty.

It has been shot in the style of a documentary and Glitter is to be played by respected stage and screen actor Hilton McRae, who recently appeared in C4's Red Riding trilogy.

The programme follows Glitter's fictional arrest and police interview, following which he is charged with sex crimes against children committed in Vietnam. He is seen on remand in Pentonville Prison and through the Old Bailey trial which polarises public opinion, and he is seen giving his own version of the events which led to his trial, while human rights groups and death penalty supporters clash over their opposing views.

An Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by Channel 4 found 70% of those surveyed thought the UK should have the death penalty as the maximum possible penalty for the most serious crimes.

Following the screening on November 7, there will be an online debate about the capital punishment.

Channel 4's head of documentaries 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.

"Putting a resonant figure like Gary Glitter into a fictional situation helps to engage the viewer as the drama unfolds. The debate around the death penalty arouses passions on both sides. This drama, with its compelling and original narrative, is an intelligent and thought-provoking examination of the issue."

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