Inside Story

Monday 5 January, 9.40pm on TV One

Following on from the success of the Bafta-winning Ross Kemp On Gangs, Ross Kemp journeys to Afghanistan to experience first-hand the British Army’s attempts at bringing peace to one of the world’s most dangerous places (tonight at 9.40pm on TV ONE).

With unparalleled access to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, Ross Kemp In Afghanistan is the fly-on-the-wall series that follows soldiers from their training in the United Kingdom to the brutal reality of war.

During four weeks spent with ordinary soldiers in war-torn Helmand Province, Kemp finds out for himself what it means to face a fanatical enemy like the Taliban. And back home in the UK, Kemp talks to the wives and families of the soldiers during their deployment.

Kemp has a personal interest in the Royal Anglians. He is from their recruiting area, and his father served with one of the predecessor regiments of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Norfolk Regiment, in Cyprus. It was his father’s military connections which helped Kemp gain access for the television series.

Speaking to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, Kemp says nothing could prepare him for the reality of Afghanistan.

“I don’t think you can prepare for lying flat-faced in the field while someone tries to kill you; I don’t think you can prepare for the consistent jeopardy of not knowing if the next bump is going to be your last bump.

“It’s amazing how your basic instincts come to the fore. Even though you’re carrying body armour, your helmet, nine litres of water and more, you can run very quickly when someone’s trying to kill you. It’s very motivational.”

Episode one sees Kemp preparing for deployment and joining the Royal Anglians as they train during a cold British winter on Salisbury Plain. They’re training for what they will face in Afghanistan, which includes convoy protection and deploying from Chinook helicopters. During one exercise Kemp’s group is attacked, and Kemp and several others are ‘killed’ by the enemy. It’s a sobering thought. Three months later, and Kemp will be playing this scenario for real. At the end of episode, Kemp leaves the UK for the war zone that is Afghanistan.

Candid and brutally honest, Kemp will give his own personal account of the British soldier at war. How will he get on himself faced with the same harsh conditions experienced by the highly trained soldiers of the British Army?

 

Monday 25 August, 9.30pm

Inside Story: Forensic Investigators offers an inside glimpse into the world of murder investigations. Hosted by former Blue Heelers star Lisa McCune, the series traces the scenes of infamous and bizarre murders, along with the enthralling investigations that follow the crimes.

Focusing on real Australian crimes, each episode unfolds the drama minute-by-minute, showing viewers the tireless work of detectives, and the scientific procedures required to solve these mysteries. The series includes exclusive footage that has never been seen outside the courtroom, including police videos, crime scene stills and other forensic evidence.

Monday 7 July, 9.30pm

I Shouldn’t Be Alive returns with more incredible true stories of human survival against the odds.

Using reconstructions of terrifying life-or-death scenarios, combined with first person testimony from survivors, the series demonstrates the power of the human spirit and reveals the universal qualities needed to survive in extreme circumstances.
In this week’s episode, life-long friends Jim and Dave are scaling the notorious Elevator Shaft, a sheer ice-wall in the shadow of Mount Johnson, Alaska. A great slab of ice breaks away, taking Jim with it. He survives but is badly injured. Dave is then faced with this dilemma: His best friend lies badly injured in an avalanche zone – does he ski across a crevasse field to find help? And when no help is available, does he then risk his life to go back?

Monday 9 June, 9.30pm

Back for a second, nail-biting series, Inside Story: Banged Up Abroad tells the true stories that would be any traveller’s worst nightmare – when a holiday in paradise winds up in a hell-hole prison.

The series looks at travellers who, through naivety, stupidity or plain bad luck, have fallen foul of a local legal system and found themselves behind bars in a local prison. Plus, first-hand accounts from adventurers who have strayed too far off the beaten track and found themselves hostage to guerrilla forces.
This first episode tells the story of 19 year olds, James and Paul, who – desperate to escape their dead-end jobs and gloomy existence in Leicester, North England – think that an offer to smuggle drugs from Venezuela is going to lead them to a life of riches and glamour. But the adventure they craved soon turns into their worst nightmare, as their crime results in nearly five years spent in one of the toughest prisons in the world.

Monday 7 April, 9.30pm

Ross Kemp continues his investigation into the world’s most notorious gangs in dangerous and far-flung locations.

In the third series of this landmark BAFTA-winning documentary series, Kemp meets brutal Yardie posses in Jamaica; spends time with violent football hooligans in Poland; uncovers new paramilitary gangs in Colombia; and exposes the criminal groups in East Timor that have brought the country to the verge of collapse.
In the first episode, Kemp heads to Jamaica. The beautiful Caribbean island is best known for its reggae beats and sunny beaches; but it also has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Most of the violence is due to ruthless gangs, reputedly the most fearsome in the world, that have transformed downtown Kingston into a war zone where even the police and the Jamaican Defence Force fear to tread.

Unlike other gangs that Ross has visited, the Jamaican Yardies were the creation of the country’s two political parties but like Frankenstein’s monster, these gangs have since grown out of the politicians’ control. Ross embarks on an investigation to find out whether these gangs are still connected to their political patrons and what they’re really fighting for.

Monday 31 March, 9.30pm

On April 10, 1968, the Wahine passenger ferry sank in Wellington Harbour. Fifty-one of the ship’s 735 passengers and crew died after they were forced to jump for their lives as the Wahine rolled over just hundreds of metres from houses in suburban Seatoun.

Now, in a documentary made to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the disaster, state-of-the-art animation will bring to life the last moments of the Wahine as she entered the harbour while the worst recorded storm in New Zealand history hit the capital.
Wind gusts that day reached an amazing 276 kilometres an hour, with gusts in excess of 160 kilometres an hour blowing over a four-hour period. Based on data from NIWA, eyewitnesses and expertise from former Cook Strait ferry master Captain John Brown, the animators have recreated the sea conditions.

The animations show the massive following sea, which was racing at an incredible 30-plus kilometres an hour. They then show the giant wave, which picked up the 9000 tonne Wahine and flung her sideways on to the sea.

Captain Brown, who was on the scene on Wahine Day and who later spent 30 years commanding Cook Strait ferries, says the animations are stunningly realistic. “They capture the sea conditions that day very well,” he says.

Documentary producer David Lomas decided to use animation because “there is no film footage showing how wild the sea was and how incredible strong the wind was when the Wahine was driven on to the reef. All the old television footage was taken hours later and shot from a long way away. It gives no impression at all of the reality.”

Lomas says the documentary, which has been directed by Jill Graham, is a new look at the disaster. The animation shows for the first time how the Wahine came to hit Barrett Reef. “Then we have tried concentrated on a few people and followed their day of horror.”

Among those interviewed for the documentary are a Canterbury farmer and his wife who were dumped against rocks on the Pencarrow coastline, a Wellington businesswoman who was the last person rescued from the water and a Wahine crew member who had to quell a mutiny on one of the life boats.

Monday 24 March, 9.30pm

Ross Kemp gets inside Moscow’s vicious neo-Nazi gangs and discovers who is behind the recent wave of racist attacks.

In the final episode of Ross Kemp on Gangs, Kemp investigates the extent to which neo-Nazi groups are gaining power in Russia. It seems that at best the police turn a blind eye to racist attacks, at worst actively endorse it. And Kemp meets one Member of Parliament who openly promotes Nazi ideology.
Kemp joins one neo-Nazi group during their training and through a series of tests – which includes him being set on fire – he gains their trust. They invite him back to their secret headquarters where he meets some seriously disturbing individuals and uncovers the heart of their violent organisation.

Ross Kemp on Gangs is a Bafta Award-winning documentary series following actor Ross Kemp (Ultimate Force), as he travels around the world talking to gang members from all walks of life.

In this series, Kemp infiltrates Moscow’s vicious neo-Nazi gangs to discover who is behind a recent wave of racist attacks; examines Middle-America’s gang culture with a visit to St Louis, Missouri; and explores the dark heart of Cape Town’s ferocious Numbers Gang, which thrives because of overcrowded prisons.

In tonight’s episode, Ross Kemp immerses himself in the dark and dangerous world of MS 13, the new bad boys on the block in El Salvador.

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It is also the most dangerous. From a population of just eight million, there are approximately 6-8000 murders a year. At least half of these are gang related. And in El Salvador the gangs don’t get any bigger than Mara Salvatrucha or MS 13.

Considered by the USA to be ‘the most dangerous gang in the world’, MS 13 has over 100,000 members spread across 33 states in the US and throughout Central America. They are responsible for murders, extortion, rape, drugs and arms smuggling.

Kemp travels to El Salvador to find out for himself how MS 13 operates, what the government are doing to tackle the problem and whether there are any real alternatives for the thousands of disenfranchised youths of El Salvador, living well below the poverty line.

Granted access to the toughest prisons in Central America, Kemp meets leaders of MS 13 as well as the foot-soldiers; those gang members living in such perilous surroundings that the bottom of their road is a no-go-zone.

“I think it’s really interesting how MS started as a backlash to persecution [towards Salvoradoreans] in the USA and now it’s travelled all the way back here, and you can see how this country must have been such a fertile breeding ground after the end of the revolution with people with lots of weapons and still lots of violence inside them,” says Kemp. “The interesting thing is they don’t seem to be like most other gangs associated with drugs or making money, it all seems to basically be about ‘I hate everyone else who isn’t in my gang and I will kill everybody who isn’t in my gang’. From what I’ve seen that’s exactly what they do.”

Monday 3 March, 9.30pm on TV1

Louis Theroux investigates San Quentin, the oldest and most notorious maximum security prison in California – and the only one with a death row. Once home to serial murderer Charles Manson, San Quentin continues to bang up, and execute, the most dangerous criminals in California.

In this 6000-strong prison full of serial murderers, rapists, paedophiles and gang members, Theroux spends time getting to know the inmates and prison guards and becomes part of the day to day of prison life.
Theroux says he had no idea what to expect from San Quentin. “Never having been to prison before, I had various preconceptions, most of them taken from films and books. I had vague ideas about gangs, prison rape, assaults on guards, guys chalking up their time on their cell wall. Mainly I was expecting a grim and depressing world of people without hope. Over the next few days some of these preconceptions were confirmed – and more of them were challenged.”

During his time behind bars, Theroux joins the guards for cell ‘shake downs’ where ingenious and terrifying deadly weapons are found. He spends time with an inmate and his family during visitation period – when drugs and weapons are regularly smuggled in – and witnesses the arrival of a fresh new inmate, a kid who has never been in prison before.

In the ‘special needs’ unit, as the guards call it, he meets the sex offenders and gang drop-outs who would be killed immediately were they to go back to the main section of the prison. Theroux also walks the yard getting to know members of the notorious Californian gangs and learns how racial and gang segregation lines are gospel and not to be crossed. “The rules of the gangs were some of the strangest things I heard in prison. The gangs are organised racially – white, black, Hispanic – though there are also two very large and opposed Hispanic groups, the Northerners and Southerners.

Mostly, it’s about having physical protection from fellow gang members and being provided for. In return, naturally, you’re expected to do their bidding, which chiefly seems to mean assaulting whoever your higher-ups tell you to.”

Theroux says it was an eye-opening experience, but one he was glad to be able to put behind him. “A few days later I left for good, still not quite believing the strangeness of San Quentin’s world-within-a-world and very grateful that I at least had the option of going home.”

Monday 25 Feb. 9.30pm on TV1

Louis Theroux travels to California, the birthplace of plastic surgery, to reveal the startling reality of a sweeping obsession with vanity – and have a little ‘nip and tuck’ himself.

In Los Angeles, you can be whatever and whomever you want with the flick of a knife and a few thousand dollars. In fact, you don’t even need that, just a credit card or a monthly payment plan from your friendly neighbourhood plastic surgeon. What used to be unaffordable luxury is now an everyday commodity.
In Louis Theroux – Under The Knife Theroux meets an astonishing cast of characters. Laura, who is undergoing a complete makeover: boob job, brow lift, and liposuction; Kris – a the pool guy who is certain his life will change for the better if he has the perfect stomach; and Dr. Linder, the boob man of Beverly Hills, who points out all the breasts he’s enlarged on a trip down Rodeo Drive.

Not to be outdone, Theroux actually undergoes a procedure himself. He has liposuction of the abs and flanks.

“A doctor told me I was “disproportionate”. I’m sort of naturally skinny, but I don’t exercise or eat as well as I should, so probably like a lot of men in their mid-to late 30s, I’ve got – I had – a little paunch. I wanted to get something done just to feel like I was getting involved,” says Theroux.

His surgeon assured him that even if he puts the weight back on, he won’t put it on in the same place. “My question is: where does it go? If I’m eating chocolate and I’m drinking red wine most nights, that’s got to deposit fatty globules somewhere. My fear is, it’s all going to deposit on my chest and I’ll get man-boobs.”

Despite indulging in his own plastic surgery, Theroux remains puzzled about its enormous popularity. “A couple of the men had muscle implants to give them the ‘Schwarzenegger look’. And for women, breast augmentation and lipo are the big thing. You can’t deny that in many cases it does give good results. But there’s an issue with whether it should really be a priority. You’d probably be better off spending your money on other things that make you happy.”

Monday 18 February at 9.30pm on TV1