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C4 defi ant in 'gang' storm; TELEVISION: 'No active members' used in drama.

Byline: By Paul Bradley

TELEVISION bosses today rejected pleas from relatives of gun victims to release more details about a movie inspired by Birmingham's most notorious gangsters.

The Birmingham Mail revealed on Thursday that members of the Burger Bar Boys and Johnson Crew were believed to have advised film makers in a new 90-minute drama set to appear on Channel 4 next year.

Billed as a rap-based musical, the film, which has been given a working title One Day - Postcode Wars, was filmed in Handsworth between July 14 and August 8.

Teenagers and young adults who live in the area star in the film instead of big name actors, and it is not yet clear how many gangsters have helped with the production of the movie.

It prompted calls from Birmingham anti-gang groups for more transparency about the intentions for the movie.

But today Channel 4 chiefs refused to put an end to fears that the film glamorised guns and gangs in its portrayal of feuds between rival groups of youths.

A spokeswoman said: "The film is still in its very early stages and now is not the time to give any details about it.

"It obviously involves people from Handsworth and at some stage people in the area will need to know more.

"But for now we cannot release any more information as the movie has been filmed but not made."

The spokeswoman added that no active gang members were set to star in the film but they were unable to say how many former gang members were cast.

Bev Thomas, mother of murdered Charlene Ellis, who was the innocent victim of a gang attack outside a New Year party in 2003, said: "Channel 4 have a reputation of showing films about gangs.

"Again there is a real risk this film could glamorise guns and gangs if they are not extremely careful.

"We need to know what they are planning and what benefit they think they will get from making a film about youth culture, gangs and guns."

Three people have been shot dead in Birmingham within the last 12 months and four more seriously injured.

On Saturday Dimitri Foskin, aged 24, was shot dead outside a house in Newtown.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 30, 2008
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