Arsenal ban BBC drama By Any Means from using official kit after storyline insulted club and depicted fans as criminals

Episode, watched by 4 million viewers, split North London’s football fans

Arsenal FC banned a BBC drama from using the club’s branded shirts in an episode because the storyline insulted the club and depicted its fans as criminals.

Fans of the Gunners were outraged the opening scenes of By Any Means, BBC1’s new Sunday night series about an elite police unit.

The detectives, led by Warren Brown and Shelley Conn, trick a half-witted Arsenal fan, who has skipped bail on robbery charges, by inviting him to attend an exclusive tour of the Emirates stadium.

He arrives at an office covered in stickers saying “Arsenal” and “Emirates”. He meets two undercover detectives, who are decked head-to-toe in the north London club's famous red-and-white colours, like the suspect.

The suspect heads to the bus for his dream trip but is instead arrested by Brown’s Jack Quinn and told “You are under arrest for being an Arsenal fan…anything you do say will be ignored.”

When Quinn is asked if the scam was ethical, he says they're aren’t just crooks: “It’s worse than that, they're Gooners.”

However Arsenal failed to see the funny side of the episode, which depicts the fan as an idiot, asking “We’re not going to Emirates izzit?" after he's loaded on a bus to the police station with other criminally-minded Gooners who also fell for the deception.

When Arsenal became aware of the storyline, the club refused permission for the producers to use real club shirts and logos. Producers Red Planet mocked up shirts, hats and scarves in Arsenal colours for the actors to wear, without the identifying logos.

A spokesman for Red Planet Pictures, the series producers, said: “Arsenal FC declined permission to use their branded shirts within the context of the script so production decided, on advice, to use shirts in a similar style instead.”

It was “common practice” to seek permission from clubs to use official merchandise, the producers said. “As this was refused the production team at Red Planet Pictures took the decision to use generic tops which did not feature logos,” the spokesman said.

The episode, watched by 4 million viewers, split North London’s football fans. One furious Arsenal viewer tweeted: “Right, that's 'By Any Means' boycotted.” Spurs fans however hailed the episode and called the arrest scene “priceless”.

The incident demonstrates how Premier League clubs, now marketing themselves to a global audience, are increasingly protective of their "brand”.

Last year Arsenal sued China’s trademark watchdog for copyright infringement after it registered a trademark for a company called Daguangming Glasses Company, based in Hangzhou, to produce glasses using the club name and logo.

The BBC said dropping the official shirts was a decision for Red Planet Pictures and that it planned to continue using branded club merchandise where relevant in programming.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn