Drama on Prince Harry in Taliban custody

Last Updated: Oct 07, 2010, 09:34 AM IST

London: A British TV channel will air a "dramatised documentary" showing Prince Harry being captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, a media report said Wednesday.

"The Taking of Prince Harry", the 90-minute film by Channel 4, will show the Prince being subjected to mock executions and forced to appear in propaganda films, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Harry, third in the line of succession to the British throne, served for 10 weeks as a forward air controller in Afghanistan`s Helmand province alongside the Gurkhas. However, he was pulled out and flown home in February 2008 when the secret was leaked.

His presence in the country was subject to a media black-out because of worries that he could become a Taliban target if it became widely known that he had been deployed, the report said.

Featuring contributions from former hostages and intelligence experts, the film includes scenes showing the prince, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines while negotiations are carried out to free him.

The broadcaster has defended its decision to make the film, anticipating accusations that it will give succour to militants fighting NATO troops.

Channel 4`s head of documentaries, Hamish Mykura, said the broadcaster had informed Buckingham Palace about the film, but had not had any response.

Mykura said he did not think that making the film increased the risk of potential high-profile kidnappings. He said: "I think it is just wrong to say that this would create a new idea that wasn`t there already."

The show, which will be broadcast Oct 21 at 9 p.m., 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.

"We are not prepared to comment on this work of fiction," said a spokesman for Clarence House, the royal home in London.

"Speculating about the security of Prince Harry, both as a serving member of the Armed Forces and a senior member of the Royal Family, is unhelpful." He said Harry had been told about the programme and added: "His reaction is private."

The channel has previously courted controversy with programmes about the royal family.

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 Prince William and Prince Harry.

IANS