Arsenal haven’t seen the funny side of the BBC’s drama where their supporters were portrayed as criminals.
The BBC has a new drama called “By Any Means”. It is about a secret team of officially sanctioned operatives who bring justice to criminals who have got off scot free in court. In the first episode, as a side plot, they run a scam to recapture an escaped con who is an Arsenal supporter. The plot and script go something like this,
Jason Turner, an escaped yoof convict enters a shop unit done out as an Arsenal competition winners’ outlet. It is decorated in red and white with “Arsenal” painted on the walls.
Behind a desk are a young man and woman dressed casually in red and white.
Jason: You all right? Got this innit?
Girl: Lucky you.
Jason: Wot and I get to meet all the bois yeh?
Man: After the stadium tour’s over there is a meet and greet in the boardroom.
Man: Is it what?
Jason: I dunno, just saying izzit innit?
Girl: Looks like we had a bit of trouble finding you Jason.
Jason: Yeh well I was at my Auntie V’s for a little bit innit? I been avin’ some issues.
Girl: Can we just confirm your date of birth?
Jason: Eleven…..(counts on his fingers) five, ninety free.
Girl: That’s good. All right, follow me. You’re the last one.
She leads him through a door which the guy closes shut behind them into an alley decorated with red and white bunting. At the end of the alley is a white min bus with some more lads looking out through the window and a thirtyish guy in a leather jacket standing waiting.
Jason: Are you the manager?
Girl: (by way of introduction) Jason Turner.
New guy: (All smiles)Jason. Pleased to meet you mate. (Reaches out his hand and as Jason takes it, spins him roughly round and pushes him up against the side of the minibus.)
Jason: What are you doin’ right?
New guy: I’m putting you under arrest for supporting Arsenal football club.(Reads him his rights).
Girl: Plus a TV an X Box and assorted confectionery at last month’s riots. Skipped bail, 3 counts of assault in August. Skipped bail again. It’s quite a list.
Jason: Are you cops?
New guy: It’s a grey area. (Opens the door). In you pop princess. As promised, a front row seat. (Shuts the door, gives a thumbs up to the driver.) There you go mate. Nice one.
Jason: (Turns to a fellow passenger). We’re not going to the Emirates innit?
I’m not sure that’s ethical.
Girl: What isn’t?
First guy: Using a man’s sporting allegiance to trick him. Very very underhand.
Girl: They’re crooks
Second guy: Worse than that they are Gooners.
First guy: Yeah. Fair point.
Link to BBC “By Any Means”
Arsenal, however, haven’t found it funny, and according to a report in the Guardian the BBC drama was banned from using official Arsenal merchandise after producers submitted a script that portrayed their fans as imbecilic, innumerate criminals. A statement from the show’s producers said,
Red Planet Pictures sought consent from Arsenal FC to use their official merchandise, as is common practice. As this was refused the production team at Red Planet Pictures took the decision to use generic tops which did not feature logos.