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I got a real gun too easily; Pooky Quesnel.

Thief Taker actress Pooky Quesnel - a gun-toting cop in the hard- hitting series - was shocked by how easily she got her hands on a real gun.

As part of the research for a role she joined a London gun club.

"I wanted to have as much genuine experience as possible of what it was like to handle a gun.

"But I was shocked how easy it was to gain membership - especially since Dunblane.

"All I had to do was give two references - my partner, Mark, and an ex-boyfriend - and I was in.

"I felt there was no proper screening; it was much too lax. There should be a far more rigorous procedure."

Pooky - whose real name is Joanna - reckons the sale of bullets in shops should be banned.

"Controlling ammunition would be a simple way of stopping the abuse of weapons," she says. "At the moment anyone can walk into a shop and buy bullets."

"I believe enthusiasts should be able to own weapons. But they should be kept at a gun club."

Despite her reservations, Pooky enjoyed the sport.

"It's not at all aggressive. To do it well requires extreme calm, correct posture, relaxed breathing and lots of concentration."

Not that you'd think so from the way she uses her weapon on TV.

Pooky admits she has reservations about TV violence. "I object to graphic violence. I hate it when it's gratuitous," says the 31-year-old, who lives in South London. "I worry how it affects people, especially youngsters who can't always tell reality from fiction.

"At first I thought Thief Takers (ITV, 9pm) was going to be a series just about girlies waving guns around.

"But my character has to deal with the trauma of shooting someone. I think that's responsible TV, showing the consequences of violence."

Shooting isn't Pooky's only hobby - she also enjoys kick boxing and flamenco dancing.

"Flamenco is fantastic - sexy and passionate. If I'd started 15 years ago I would have become a full-time dancer instead of an actress."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Malins, Sue
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 21, 1996
Words:334
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