Tripping on TV - a step too far?
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We all know that shock-value sells and television has never shied away from capitalising on that fact. From Derren Brown's 'live' game of Russian Roulette in 2003 to the Dutch TV presenters who ate each others' flesh for the camera last year, it's becoming increasingly difficult to shock a modern audience. But Keith Allen is trying to do just that. Allen, father of singer Lily, is filming a new documentary for Channel 4 about drugs – and has apparently been filmed taking them for the programme. The veteran rocker, roller, actor, writer and all around ladies-man has filmed the documentary with Professor David Nutt of Imperial College - a controversial figure. Professor Nutt became infamous in 2009 when he was dismissed from his position on the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, for campaigning against government policy. Nutt has stated in the past that he believes drugs ought to be classified according to the actual harm they cause and that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than LSD, Cannabis and Ecstasy. He also went on the record saying that taking ecstasy was on a par with riding a horse in terms of the immediate danger it poses to health. In the new programme Allen will take MDMA (the pure form of ecstasy) as part of a clinical trial into the effects that the drug has on the body - but there are those calling it irresponsible. There's no doubt that this country is in desperate need of a calm, measured look at drugs, their effects, legality and the social issues that surround them. Between the Daily Mail's hysterical raving, Irving Welsh and Pete Doherty, our society is one that vilifies drugs outright without necessarily fully understanding them. But is Channel 4, purveyor of such exploitative and voyeuristic gems as 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings', 'The Undateables' and 'The Tree Man of Java', the right channel to produce that?
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