A “DRAMATISED documentary” based on what would happen if Prince Harry were to be taken prisoner while serving in Afghanistan was described as “deeply distasteful”.
The 90-minute film, called The Taking Of Prince Harry, features contributions from former hostages and intelligence experts.
A Defence source said: “The depiction, fictional or otherwise, of a member of the Armed Forces being taken hostage and mistreated is deeply distasteful.”
The Channel 4 programme includes scenes showing the prince, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines while negotiations are carried out to free him.
At one point he is shown having an unloaded gun pointed in his face before one of his captors pulls the trigger, and he is also made to appear in Taliban and al-Qaida propaganda.
The programme, which will be broadcast on Thursday, October 21, at 9pm, also includes scenes where the prince is confronted by a British-born radical Islamist and details how the British Government’s approach to hostage negotiations differs from other nations.
Harry, younger son of the Prince of Wales, served in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
His presence in the country was hush-hush because of worries he could become a Taliban target if it became widely known he had been deployed.
He spent 10 weeks working as a forward air controller until his cover was blown on the internet. Harry was flown home in February 2008 when the secret was leaked.
Channel 4’s head of documentaries, Hamish Mykura, said the broadcaster had informed Buckingham Palace about the film, but had not had any response.
He said he did not think making the film increased the risk of potential high-profile kidnappings and said the Taliban had already discussed targeting the prince when it was disclosed he had served in the country.
Mykura said there was “no doubt” Harry would be at risk if he returned to Afghanistan.
He said: “In the film we mentioned that his nickname when he was there last was ‘Bullet Magnet’ and we know that there were quite a lot of reports and stories of jihadi websites saying he should be the number one target.”
He added he felt the film dealt with a “timely” subject in an appropriate and responsible manner.
The channel has previously courted controversy when in 2007 a documentary featuring photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales, as she lay fatally injured following a car crash, was broadcast despite pleas from her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
A Clarence House spokesman said Harry had been told about the programme and added: “His reaction is private.”
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