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
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own