Boy sets himself on fire in effort to get on TV

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The Independent Online

A 14-year-old boy suffered serious burns after setting himself on fire while his friend filmed him in a bizarre attempt to mimic a "stunt" and have it shown on television.

The teenager, who has not been named, doused his T-shirt with methylated spirit and used a lighter to set himself on fire in a park in Plympton, Devon.

He tried to extinguish the flames by rolling on the ground but only managed to put out the fire by jumping in a river.

A friend was apparently filming the event because the pair were planning to send the tape to Jackass TV – a programme that is filled with pranks and stunts – shown on the MTV satellite channel.

The emergency services were called to the incident at 1.23pm on Sunday and the boy was taken to hospital.

It is believed he suffered serious, but not life-threatening burns. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "People need to remember that what they see on television is not real. We would strongly urge people not to try to recreate for themselves any special effects or stunts they see on television."

An MTV spokesman said last night that the programme, Jackass TV gave many indications and warnings that people should not recreate stunts on the show, all of which were performed by professionals.

The spokesman said he was "very sorry" to hear what happened to the boy.

He said the programme went to some lengths to make sure the public understood they should not repeat the stunts, and screened warnings at the start of, during and at the end of Jackass TV programmes.

The programme did not solicit home videos from members of the public, and would not view any tapes that were sent in, he said.