Galloway to sue makers of 'The Bill'

 
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Galloway to sue makers of 'The Bill' Reply with quote


George Galloway sues The Bill over 'corrupt' politician he claims is based on him
By Daily Mail Reporter
29th May 2008

Controversial MP George Galloway is suing the makers of hit TV show The Bill claiming an episode featuring a corrupt politician was based on him. Respect MP Galloway, 53, is finalising talks with his lawyers this week after watching a three-part special called 'Moving Targets' - first aired on ITV in November last year.

The three-hour special - which focuses on fictional corrupt MP Paul Sagger - is said to draw on a number of similarities with the Bethnal Green and Bow MP, including links with Iraq and east London. A source close to Galloway said the character, played by actor Tom Chadbon, shows 'uncanny similarities to George'.

The source said: 'He is in talks with his lawyers this week. 'The legal action is based on an episode of The Bill shown last year where a politician with uncanny similarities to George turned out to be venal and corrupt - and that there was a clear inference."

Galloway - who ordered in copies of the ITV show to watch at home - is believed to have been furious after watching the show and ordered his legal team to take action. The ex-Labour MP is notoriously litigious and has won a string of high profile cases - including 150,000 in libel damages from the Daily Telegraph. The cigar-smoking MP, who famously appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, is known for his opposition to the war in Iraq and visited the country twice, in 1994 and 2002. When he met Saddam Hussein in 1994 he famously told him: 'Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.'

The episode in question - which attracted a massive 6m viewers - follows a police investigation into a double shooting at a Rock Against Racism concert in which the fictional MP is hit in the shoulder by a bullet and another man - a Muslim cleric - dies. In the search for the gunman officers from Sunhill - a fictional east London borough - uncover incriminating evidence against the MP in connection with the illegal importation of artefacts from Iraq. In the final scene the MP is charged with smuggling.

Galloway is believed to consider that the similarities between the character and him are 'too close to have been an accident'. A source said: 'Galloway's links with Iraq are well known, he is an east London MP and Sunhill is meant to be set in east London and the Rock Against Racism concerts are held in Victoria Park - which is in George's constituency. The 6m viewers who watched the episodes will have seen a man - about the same age as George - playing an east London MP with links to Iraq and Rock Against Racism being charged with smuggling. The conclusions are fairly obvious you would have thought.'

The Respect Party, co-founded by Galloway, even offers 'Rock Against Racism' t-shits as prizes on its website. Ron McKay, an official spokesman for Mr Galloway, said: 'George cannot make any comment because of the current legal state of affairs.'

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Nice of the Daily Mail to fill us in on Big Brother and Saddam Hussein eh? Not mention writing 't-shits' instead of 't-shirts' at the end...

I'll need to see if I can get hold of these old episodes to check it out. I used to watch the show all the time, but got bored.
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nekokate



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about this one. Isn't artistic license covered under the law? I bet if I put my mind to it I could think of an absolute ton of TV shows or films that have characters "based on" real people, and pretty much take the piss out of them.

The thing is, George starred in a video that showed a look-alike Tony Blair arrested for war crimes at the end, which under the law would surely be even worse because there was no ambiguity at all - the character was meant to be Blair.

I know, and everyone on this website knows, that the difference is that Tony Blair really is a war criminal, but there are plenty of people out there, including himself, who don't think he is at all, but I'm not talking about the truth, rather the way the law would see this - so bearing in mind that the law cannot be partisan, does GG really have a case?

Like, in court, The Bill could argue that, "Well, lots of people reckon GG is corrupt, in the same way he reckons Blair is corrupt - since neither GG nor Blair have any convictions and are both free men, then his Blair portrayal is legally the same thing that we did - artistic freedom to portray someone in a certain light when the legal status of that person is either similar or totally different".
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep, I agree completely - just look at 'The Trial Of Tony Blair' for example.

I'm surprised the situation has taken so long to come about though - 7 months or more.
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nekokate



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And just to clarify for those who might need it (I re-read my post and don't think I made it clear enough), I am obviously on George's side here. I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to be annoyed, and that the writers on The Bill aren't prats, just that I'm really not sure he has a case.

If he had a case, then people like Rory Bremner would be walking around with big concave dents in their trousers, highlighting the area where their arses had been sued off.
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major.tom
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My layman's understanding of the law is that free speech is protected only insofar as any claims made are either reasonable and justifiable or clearly parody. (eg. Jerry Falwell vs. Larry Flynt) Tony Blair would have an uphill battle in a Court of Law proving he isn't a war criminal, so taking the matter there would be a risky proposition.

It sounds like this show's writers/producers are attempting to smear GG's name and reputation with unsubstantiated (and I believe false) but not impossible accusations. They're things that some (otherwise) reasonable people might believe, but for which there's no evidence of which I'm aware.
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about the Rock against Racism angle - that is very particular and personal. After hearing GG make the point about never asking a question that you don't know the answer to, I get the feeling he's probably taken the time to get the case right.

It will be interesting to see how it goes.
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nekokate



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: West Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

major.tom wrote:
It sounds like this show's writers/producers are attempting to smear GG's name and reputation with unsubstantiated (and I believe false) but not impossible accusations. They're things that some (otherwise) reasonable people might believe, but for which there's no evidence of which I'm aware.


Very decent point - but of course it's likely the producers of The Bill will insist the character wasn't based on George, so it would be up to him to prove it was, which could be difficult (I'm saying this without having seen a single second of any of the episodes in question, haha, so this is just a gut feeling waffle).

The thing is, he's saying that the character was obviously based on him because it's a Left-wing East London politician who attends anti-war demos, but there are plenty of Left-wing politicians, and as for the fact he was from East London, well The Bill is set there, so any character being dealt with at the fictional Sun Hill police station would have to be from there, otherwise the character couldn't exist.

And even if he is capable of demonstrating that the character was based on him beyond reasonable doubt, it's still just a character, and not him.

It will be very interesting to see what happens.
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this topic tonight while searching for something else.

So here's the first episode of the 3 parter that was the cause of this story. To be honest, the things said about the MP could have been about GG, but the character portrayed doesn't fit him at all. It was snide, but probably not direct enough to be actionable.

Other than that it's not a bad story at all about how edl-type bigots operate.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote




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