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Nov. 10th, 2009

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The Execution of Gary Glitter was set in a Britain in which the death penalty had been restored. It followed the troubled singer from his arrest at the airport (coming back from serving a prison sentence for sex offences in Vietnam) through to the moment when he went through the floor with a rope round his neck.

Of course none of it ever happened. The British people may- by a slim majority- desire the return of capital punishment, but for most of them this is an opinion not a passion. They'll affirm it to an interviewer, but they'll not march through central London chanting "Hang the Paedos" because that would be in awfully bad taste.  The film had such demonstrations happening after the Soham murders- only they didn't .  And this is why this country will never restore hanging.

The choice of Glitter as hangee was a hook to snag the viewers. Hamish McCrae was pretty good in the role- affecting even- but the character as written was generic, box-ticking.  Paedophiles are arrogant, check; self-pitying, check; blame their victims, check. The real man- the specificity that is Gary Glitter aka Paul Gadd- was present only in his superficial attributes- a shaved head, a goatee beard, a whiny voice, a back story.

Still, it's good to be reminded just what a nasty, grubby business it is for the state to kill a man. If the film had a point, I suppose that was it.

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