The British Channel 4 has started broadcasting hunted, a six-part “real life thriller” that follows 14 contestants as they try to escape for 28 days. A command and control center of ex-ghosts and counter-terrorism experts will attempt to track down the 14 fugitives through technological means, passing their information to a ground team of “hunters” – ex-police officers and bounty hunters – who will take the participants across the country. chasing and will try to arrest them.
The six-part series was filmed over 28 days in May. The 14 participants, equipped with limited resources and barred from seeking outside help, simultaneously fled, trying to escape as long as possible. Each of the fugitives was followed by a single, silent cameraman. Channel 4 isn’t giving away many details at the moment, but some outlets who have seen early footage describe it as “a bit overwhelming” and “creepy”. The trailer, embedded above, appears to be a dramatization rather than actual footage.
The show, which rather amusingly could be described as a mix of TVs Big Brother and George Orwell’s Big Brother, is portrayed by Channel 4 as an exploration of Britain’s surveillance state. Much has been said about the UK being covered in CCTV, but what are the practical, real-world consequences of having cameras on every street corner? Can the British intelligence and police services real track your every move across the country? What if you don’t use your credit card or cell phone and just go crouch somewhere in the woods?
In an effort to emulate the surveillance powers and known surveillance practices of the state’s intelligence agencies, Channel 4 says it has “filed more than 800 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests … for the location of state-owned CCTV cameras to establish.” Aside from that, it sounds like Channel 4 even got access to those state cameras: “When real footage couldn’t be obtained, our cameras captured footage that would have been available to the state and stored it in a central database (Gold Command) until the hunters ask for it.”
Gold Command – the command and control center of the show – will be led by Brett Lovegrove, who was the counter-terrorism chief for the City of London Police between 2003 and 2008 and before that with the London Metropolitan Police for 25 years. Notably, Lovegrove was part of the Gold Command team that led the July 7, 2005 London suicide bombings.
The hunters, who come from diverse police, military and intelligence backgrounds, are allowed to use “the same methods of surveillance and detection used by the state where legally possible, including open source intelligence and questioning friends and family” to identify the hunters. to detect. Attendees.
Kevin O’Leary, former chief of covert operations for the London Metropolitan Police, is in charge of ensuring that the methods used in hunted close to the way the state would hunt fugitives. O’Leary was at the Met for 19 years and played a key safety role during the 2012 London Olympics.
The contestants are all just “ordinary Brits” – although of course, as with any reality TV show, there was a lengthy casting process to make sure the people weren’t at normal. It sounds like Channel 4 chose an interesting variety of contestants, ranging from mostly normal citizens to civil rights activists who have a vested interest in the UK Surveillance State, and outdoorsmen excited about the prospect of living off the grid. for a month.
Overall, hunted sounds quite intriguing and probably worth a look. Of course, there’s a risk that all 14 contestants will be found within a week, or that they’ll just run into the nearest woods and hang out there for a month, but I suspect it’ll be a bit more exciting than that.
Hunted kicks off at 9pm BST tonight (September 10) on Channel 4.