UK head of military demands halt to prince drama

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2010 1:33 PM
UK head of military demands halt to prince drama

Britain's defense chief demanded on Monday that a television channel withdraw a drama that looks at the crisis that would have ensued if Prince Harry had been kidnapped in Afghanistan.

Channel 4 was planning to show the 90-minute film, called "The Taking Of Prince Harry," this week. The program, shot in a mock-documentary style, explores the political ramifications of a high-profile abduction and features contributions from former hostages and intelligence experts.

Twenty-six-year-old Harry, third in line to the throne, served in Afghanistan for 10 weeks until word of his stint was leaked to the press in early 2008.

A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman confirmed that Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup wrote to Channel 4's chairman, though she said it was a "private letter" and declined to comment on its contents.

The Press Association quoted an anonymous defense source as saying that Stirrup's letter expressed concerns that the program could undermine the security of British troops in Afghanistan.

The show, scheduled for broadcast Thursday, includes scenes showing an actor who plays Harry being held behind enemy lines while negotiations are carried out to free him. It also shows the prince being forced to appear in Taliban propaganda.

Channel 4 said it had written to Stirrup replying to his concerns and insisted that it treated the subject sensitively.

"The film is rooted in expert testimony and is a serious journalistic examination of a current issue," the company said in a statement.

Hamish Mykura, head of documentaries at Channel 4, has said the idea of taking the prince hostage is "clearly not an idea that would be new to the Taliban or al-Qaida or to their supporters."