Val McDermid Artsnight


Val McDermid

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'The relationship between truth and fiction

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'has always been a blurred one.

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'The Nobel laureate Doris Lessing once wrote that...

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'"There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth."

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'I've been publishing crime novels now for nearly 30 years.

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'And I've walked the fine line between making things up

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'and staying real many times.'

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'For me, the very act of imagining has also been

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'a powerful way of accessing the truth.'

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The inspiration for my books often comes from the world around me.

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Writers have always been engaged with the societies

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that they live in, and I think it's exciting

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to be able to address current affairs

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and important issues in the books that I write.

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In Splinter The Silence I looked into internet trolling and bullying.

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In The Skeleton Road I revisited the Balkan Wars

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of the 1990s with the benefit of hindsight.

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But I've always been wary of plundering real cases for material,

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for fear of bringing more pain to people

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who have already suffered enough.

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'In my Artsnight, I'm going to delve deeper into this complex

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'relationship between truth and fiction across a number of areas.'

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'I'm going to meet authors who set their stories in the future

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'but still deal with current events...

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'speak to video games developers who have created fascinating games

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'on the highly topical subjects of immigration and drone warfare...

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'..and discuss the recent explosion of true crime stories

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'on our TV screens with one of our foremost documentary makers.'

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'A few years ago I was totally sucked in

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'by a remake of an old American science-fiction series.

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'Battle Star Galactica became essential viewing in my house.

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'Many critics viewed it as THE most powerful allegory

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'on Bush's War On Terror.

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'It said things via entertainment

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'that a lot of Americans didn't want to hear in the news media...

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'..and featured a group of religious fundamentalist cyborgs,

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'the Cylons, which most people read as representing Al-Qaeda.

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'One storyline showed prisoner torture,

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'which bore striking parallels to what was actually happening in Iraq

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'at Abu Ghraib prison.

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'Critics are often very sniffy about science-fiction,

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'but watching Battle Star Galactica reminded me

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'of the power it can exercise to make us examine how we behave

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'and the way we often fail to hold our leaders to account.'

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I apologise for what you've been through.

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'I've always enjoyed reading speculative fiction

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'which does just this.'

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Do it.

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As a teenager, I devoured Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, John Wyndham.

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I'm interested, both as a reader and a writer, in character,

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especially character under pressure.

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And with stuff like this, you can set situations up,

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light the blue touchpaper, stand well clear

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and watch what happens.

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Think - Brave New World, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451.

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These books stand apart from the world we inhabit,

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but they also powerfully critique the status quo.

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'Norwich-based sci-fi writer Richard K Morgan's books

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'are generally set in future dystopian worlds.'

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His novel Altered Carbon, where human personalities can be stored

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digitally and downloaded into new bodies,

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is currently being turned into ten-part series for Netflix.

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More and more people are turning to science-fiction

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for their reading material. Why do you think this is?

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I think largely it's because we're living in

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science-fictional times. I think if you look at the technology

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that we've all got our hands on...

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I mean, smartphones, something like that...

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These are things that even about five or ten years ago would

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have seemed science-fictional and they're now just part and parcel of day-to-day existence.

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So I think that there's an understanding

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at some level among people that to be relevant

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you really have got to, if not be writing and reading science-fiction,

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at least seeing things through a science-fictional-inflected lens.

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There's always been a thread in science-fiction where

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writers have dealt with subjects that have close parallels in real life.

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Do you think that's happening more these days within the genre?

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I think it's clearer than it used to be

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because I think, to be honest, all science-fiction really is about...

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It's not really about the future, it's about now.

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That's a bit of a truism.

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Generally speaking, taking again William Gibson

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and the cyberpunk movement, that was ostensibly about futures

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that are maybe 100, 150 years away.

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But actually he was dealing with the rise of corporations as dominant,

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the death of the nation state, the hollowing out of the middle-class.

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He was really...

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It was reportage on what he saw happening during the '80s.

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So that really... Although, technically science-fiction,

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what it was really about was that period we were going through.

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I think this is what fiction does generally though.

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It's not that it's better than truth it's that it's more focal than the truth.

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It allows you to zoom in on something in a way that the raw data

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of the actual world doesn't allow.

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What are the engines that drive your own work?

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What provokes you to imagination?

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Rage mostly!

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I know that one.

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-I start every day in a state of rage.

-Exactly, yeah.

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It's just the, kind of... I think the sense that...

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Especially recently, there's a retreat from modernism.

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You know, the modern world has given us so much

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and there is a sense in which we just don't seem to want it.

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We want to crawl back into our hole and go on being violent

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and miserable and destructive.

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I find it deeply frustrating that there's this massive

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potential in the human race, in all human beings, I think,

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and it's constantly pissed away by, sort of...

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I don't know, toxic masculinity I would say is the prime mover of that.

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It's the way we all are to some extent.

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There's this deeply rooted frustration

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with our inability to grapple with what's going on

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and make a decent fist of it.

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My fellow Edinburgh-based author Ken MacLeod

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has been imagining all sorts of things for decades.

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'Many of his complex novels are explorations of future

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'outcomes of present-day events.'

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Why did you choose to address those interests through the medium

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of science-fiction, rather than another form of fiction?

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Why did I choose science-fiction?

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Unfortunately, science-fiction chose me.

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I find it difficult to write anything else.

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In my first book, which is set

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in a fairly fractured future Britain,

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there's me working through these problems that were raised by

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the Soviet collapse, the break-up of Yugoslavia, that kind of thing,

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and projecting these into a not too distant future.

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In fact, it's a future that seems to be coming closer.

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I think that's where the power of much science-fiction lies,

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that it starts off in the ordinary.

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It starts off in the context of either a world we recognise,

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or a set of human relationships that we recognise,

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and that's what makes it, I think, so powerful

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because we start from a place of recognition and then we move into

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a place beyond that.

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The trick which can be done with greater or less success is

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-bringing a ring of truth to alien situations...

-M-hm.

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..and in some way finding ways in which they reflect back on,

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as you say, human relationship and human truths.

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And I think that's one of the great strengths of the genre,

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that you can pose those difficult ethical moral questions and

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you can create a landscape where they become very acute,

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rather than just part of the background noise.

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Absolutely, yes.

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The Execution Channel was one where I had this idea

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of an unofficial, an illegal, a secret television channel

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that showed nothing but executions,

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whether it was state executions or terrorist so-called executions.

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The question then becomes what effect does seeing these horrors

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have in driving and perpetuating the situations that give rise to them?

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So, for example, one chapter ends,

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"Susie Abudu, Nigeria, stoning, witchcraft.

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"Matthew Holst, Syria, decapitation, invasion."

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"Tariq Nazir, Scotland, burning, charge unknown."

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That's just horrifying and the awful thing about that

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is that you can imagine it... imagine it's reality.

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I think, you know, we are moving very much into a world

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where that kind of thing exists in a different form,

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but it's there.

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We're moving into a world that's beyond imagination...

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-Yes.

-..in some respects.

-Yes.

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-VIDEO GAME:

-Aye aye, captain!

-HE CHUCKLES

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When I'm not glued to my laptop

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writing the next chapter of my latest book,

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I can often be found in front of another screen - my old PC or iPad.

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I've been an avid gamer for years now.

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I never really took to the big blockbuster games.

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They're too violent, kind of misogynist...

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..but mostly it's cos I'm rubbish at shooting.

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I like puzzles and narrative games,

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but I've always had a soft spot for Lara Croft.

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Games like these can worm their way inside your head.

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I just shot you twice!

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Lately, I've noticed a change in the kind of topics

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that keep weaving their way into games I'm playing.

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It's as if the gaming world is interacting

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with the contentious moral and political issues of the real world.

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Now, I'm not one of the younger generation of gamers,

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it's fair to say.

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Probably most younger gamers do not spend their mornings

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shouting at the Today programme

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and I'm guessing that the kind of issues

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that are coming up in the games might be issues

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that otherwise pass them by.

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Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of the late Terry,

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is a story designer of video games.

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So, as a gamer, I've always enjoyed the kind of complex narrative games

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that give scope for your imagination

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and it seems to me that increasingly

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these are dealing with more sensitive, real-world issues,

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but still the big blockbuster AAA games made by the big companies

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don't quite go there.

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Do you think that's changing?

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Yes. If you look at something like BioShock, for example,

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which is a big sort of first-person shooter game,

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it was all about a fallen utopia under the sea

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that had been built by this entrepreneur called Andrew Ryan.

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He'd decided to create a place where the brightest and the best

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from art and science could come and practise their skills

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unhindered by the laws of the land.

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Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

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And of course, it all goes terribly wrong

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and it becomes, you know, a civil war, basically.

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And you get literally plopped into the middle of it.

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Are there any games you've seen recently

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that have particularly struck you as being appropriately real world

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in terms of the concerns their dealing with?

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Oh, yes. Absolutely. So, you've got things like That Dragon, Cancer,

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which was created by a couple

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who had to deal with the loss of their child through cancer

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or something like Papo And Yo

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which was about a little boy dealing with an abusive, alcoholic father,

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that was actually the designer of the game himself

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had to deal with an abusive, alcoholic father.

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And there's been games like Ninja Pizza Girl that deals with bullying

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and it was put together by a family whose daughter was experiencing bullying

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and they decided to deal with it by making a game out of it,

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which I think is wonderful.

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Gameplay with its roots in very recent real-world events

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is becoming almost commonplace - at least in my gaming world.

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Recently, I've been playing a game Papers, Please,

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which has all sorts of resonances and bitter ironies for us

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in the wake of the recent EU referendum.

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In it, you play an immigration official

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in a fictitious Communist country in 1982

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and it's your job to check the papers

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of anyone who wants to come into your country.

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If you get it right, you get rewarded

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but if you get it wrong, if you let in the murderers, the pimps,

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the evil, scheming conmen, then you suffer and your family suffers.

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You can lose your home, you can lose your income, everything.

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It can be a complete disaster.

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And the more you play the game, the more difficult it becomes.

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Papers, Please was devised by Lucas Pope.

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So, Lucas, can you tell me where the idea for Papers, Please came from?

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I'm American but I live in Japan,

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so I travel a fair bit between Japan and the US

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and I also travel throughout Asia and kind of all over the world.

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And then I started paying attention

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to what the immigration inspectors do at the airport,

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checking the paperwork and checking your documents

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and checking the computer and then stamping and sending through.

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That whole rigmarole was interesting to me.

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So, it came really, from your own sort of sense of OCD-ness,

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as you say, rather than an overt political motive to make the point

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of how difficult it is to get in and out of countries.

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Yeah, definitely.

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The whole structure of the game came from the bottom up,

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where I started with the mechanics of just checking paperwork

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and looking for discrepancies.

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That part, I thought, could make a fun and interesting game.

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And of course, it's hit a nerve

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at this particular point in our history,

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where there is this huge migration crisis,

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a huge refugee crisis, particularly for us in the European Union.

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I tried to make the game sort of neutral in those messages.

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I didn't say immigration is great or immigration is terrible.

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I tried to make it more balanced and to show that, actually,

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there's issues and problems on all sides of it.

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And it's not a simple issue. It's not black and white.

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It's a spectrum of grey.

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And I wanted the player to sort of feel the different points along that spectrum

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of where, OK, immigration control is really important

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and immigration control hurts real people,

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so, I wanted people to sort of better understand

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the vast number of issues around that particular problem.

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Thanks very much for talking to us about this.

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I've really appreciated your time

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and I look forward to playing a lot more Papers, Please.

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Great, thanks very much. My pleasure.

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The City of Dundee was once known as the home of the three Js -

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jam, jute and journalism.

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Nowadays, Scotland's fourth largest city

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has a rather different claim to fame

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as a key creative hub for the booming British games industry.

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Grand Theft Auto was initially produced

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on the banks of the River Tay.

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Prominent indie game developers are still based in the city.

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One of them is Biome Collective,

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a collaborative group of designers.

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Their most recent creation is the game Killbox.

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It deals with the controversial subject of drone warfare,

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which has become a weapon of choice in the Western War On Terror.

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Malath Abbas, one of the game's co-creators,

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spent months researching the project.

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I was kind of researching about

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what's been happening in areas such as North Pakistan,

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which isn't actually a warzone

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but there's been a lot of drone warfare taking place

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because of the border with Afghanistan.

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So, we just researched online, read a few books,

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we watched a few documentaries,

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really kind of delved in as much as possible to the subject matter.

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It's quite a dark subject matter.

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How did you translate that research into a gaming environment,

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into something that worked for players?

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I think, really, we realised early on

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that one story that hadn't been told

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is the two different perspectives of a drone strike

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being from a pilot's point of view and someone on the ground.

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So, that was a focus from the very early stages

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of our research and development.

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And so we kind of started making a really basic prototype

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and even at a very early stage with basically graphics,

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and just using boxes and things,

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we had something that was quite engaging

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and that's the power of the interactive nature of our medium.

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To play the game, we entered this vast, empty space next-door.

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I wasn't sure what to expect.

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I was player one, the child,

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while Malath was player two, the drone operator.

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ARMY RADIO CHATTER

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It's just like playing ball.

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Follow the balls.

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Lots of balls to chase.

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At the beginning, it just felt like a normal game to me.

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You play the game from your own perspective

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and never see what the other player is doing.

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As the child on the ground,

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you become more aware of the sound of your opponent above you

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as they line up their drone strike on the village.

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Something's getting louder.

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Something's getting louder but I'm chasing lots of balls and it's fun and it's...

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WHOOSHING Ah!

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Jeez.

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That's really interesting.

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You know, the first bit's just like lots of games

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where you target something and you drop a bomb

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and, like, that's good, you killed three people,

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it's the game universe, that's fine.

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And then the second bit and then you start chasing the balls

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and you kind of forget the first bit of the game and then you're just chasing the balls

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-and collecting the balls and thinking, "How many of these am I going to get?"

-Yeah.

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And then...

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-BOTH:

-Boom.

-Yeah.

-That's really powerful.

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It does take you through a whole cycle of emotions.

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The game ends with sobering information

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about the impact of real drone strikes.

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Before I became a crime novelist, I was a tabloid journalist.

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I ended up as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday paper.

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Sometimes, I covered major crime stories.

0:18:560:18:59

The case that always came back to haunt us was the Moors murders.

0:18:590:19:02

Every six months or so, a story would surface

0:19:050:19:07

that turned our attention back to those terrible events.

0:19:070:19:11

Over the years,

0:19:110:19:12

I interviewed a lot of people connected to the case -

0:19:120:19:15

the families of the victims,

0:19:150:19:17

police officers who investigated the murders,

0:19:170:19:19

journalists who were haunted for years afterwards

0:19:190:19:21

by what they heard in the courtroom.

0:19:210:19:24

20 years after the event,

0:19:240:19:25

I was the first journalist to interview Ian Brady's mother.

0:19:250:19:29

I interviewed one of Myra Hindley's girlfriends

0:19:290:19:31

and the fellow prisoner who beat her up so badly

0:19:310:19:33

she ended up needing plastic surgery.

0:19:330:19:35

Decades after Hindley and Brady's gruesome murders,

0:19:370:19:40

the pain still rippled down

0:19:400:19:41

through generations of each of the victim's families.

0:19:410:19:44

Their hurt is something I've never forgotten.

0:19:460:19:49

When I began to make a living from writing crime novels,

0:19:530:19:55

my experience of covering the Moors murders

0:19:550:19:58

informed my decision not to base novels on individual cases.

0:19:580:20:01

I'm always mindful to keep sight of the pain of the victims

0:20:030:20:06

and their families in my stories.

0:20:060:20:07

True crime stories have always fascinated us.

0:20:170:20:20

Over the past year, there's been an explosion of them on our TV screens.

0:20:200:20:24

A lot of the recent hits are American.

0:20:280:20:30

HBO's The Jinx covered the surreal story

0:20:300:20:33

of oddball property heir Robert Durst

0:20:330:20:36

and a trail of murder victims he left in his wake

0:20:360:20:38

over a 20-year period but was never actually charged for.

0:20:380:20:43

Until this jaw-dropping ending to the series,

0:20:430:20:46

which will likely condemn him to a life behind bars.

0:20:460:20:48

Thank you very much.

0:20:510:20:52

Well, thank you very much.

0:20:520:20:54

Do we have Bob's bag nearby?

0:20:540:20:56

Well, maybe this is the bathroom.

0:20:560:20:58

-Yeah, that's the bathroom.

-You were right. This is the bathroom.

0:20:580:21:01

Netflix's Making A Murderer series caused a sensation

0:21:100:21:13

when it was broadcast in late December last year.

0:21:130:21:16

Short over the course of a decade,

0:21:180:21:20

this ten-part series followed the case of Wisconsin man Steven Avery

0:21:200:21:24

who was wrongly imprisoned in 1985 for murder.

0:21:240:21:27

-NEWSREADER:

-Steven Avery spent 18 years in prison

0:21:290:21:31

for something he didn't do.

0:21:310:21:33

The film-makers followed his attempted reintegration

0:21:330:21:36

into normal life.

0:21:360:21:38

The disappearance of Teresa Halbach remains a mystery.

0:21:380:21:40

Mr Avery's blood is found inside of Teresa Halbach's vehicle.

0:21:400:21:44

Within two years of finally being released,

0:21:440:21:46

he was rearrested and jailed for another rape and murder,

0:21:460:21:49

which he hotly disputed any involvement in.

0:21:490:21:53

I didn't do it.

0:21:530:21:54

Who did it?

0:21:540:21:55

I don't know.

0:21:550:21:57

Many viewers binge-watched both series in one or two sittings,

0:21:570:22:01

transfixed by the twists and turns of complex murder cases,

0:22:010:22:04

which the respective police forces had spent years investigating.

0:22:040:22:09

And Making A Murderer provoked a flurry of amateur sleuthing

0:22:090:22:12

among its dedicated audience.

0:22:120:22:14

Many viewers spent hours on the internet,

0:22:140:22:16

poring over the court transcripts,

0:22:160:22:18

debating the various facets of Avery's case.

0:22:180:22:21

As a crime writer myself,

0:22:210:22:23

I'm well aware of the fascination people have

0:22:230:22:25

with these true crime stories.

0:22:250:22:27

And frankly, it's not surprising.

0:22:270:22:29

We all love a mystery,

0:22:290:22:30

especially the ones where we get an answer,

0:22:300:22:32

where we feel somehow we understand better what has happened

0:22:320:22:36

and why it's happened.

0:22:360:22:38

And, let's face it, there's a kind of secret, shameful gratification

0:22:380:22:41

in watching lightening striking somebody else's house.

0:22:410:22:45

But what worries me most about these kind of programmes

0:22:450:22:47

is not the way the audience are invited to rush to judgment.

0:22:470:22:50

It's not even the editorial hand that shapes what the audience sees and hears.

0:22:500:22:55

It's the way that the victims are ignored in all of this

0:22:550:22:58

because, when we disregard the victims, we diminish the crime.

0:22:580:23:01

Criminologist Roger Graef has a long track record

0:23:030:23:05

of producing crime documentaries for British television.

0:23:050:23:10

Trident is an elite unit,

0:23:100:23:12

focused on black-on-black gun crime in London.

0:23:120:23:14

To reassure the local community, a murder team takes the case.

0:23:140:23:19

He has made over 50 programmes, covering all kinds of crimes

0:23:190:23:23

and live police investigations.

0:23:230:23:25

What are the ethical considerations that come into play

0:23:250:23:28

when you're making these kind of programmes?

0:23:280:23:30

Well, the first one, which applies to absolutely all the films,

0:23:300:23:34

even whether they're not about policing and crime,

0:23:340:23:37

is you don't want to interfere in the work,

0:23:370:23:39

whatever it is you're looking at.

0:23:390:23:40

And in something as sensitive as an arrest or an interrogation

0:23:400:23:43

or things of that nature,

0:23:430:23:45

which can certainly affect people's lives,

0:23:450:23:48

you have to make absolutely certain that you haven't influenced the outcome,

0:23:480:23:51

and that takes a lot of work and a lot of restraint.

0:23:510:23:54

There's been recently a run of television programmes

0:23:540:23:57

which are almost making us citizen detectives -

0:23:570:23:59

or citizen programme-makers at the very least -

0:23:590:24:03

I'm thinking of things like the Making Of A Murderer.

0:24:030:24:06

What's your feeling about programmes like this?

0:24:060:24:09

Well, first of all, anything that lasts more than half an hour,

0:24:090:24:12

I think, is a step in the right direction

0:24:120:24:14

because the real complexity of the justice system

0:24:140:24:17

is never reflected - or very, very seldom reflected -

0:24:170:24:21

in the television versions of them or even the fictional ones.

0:24:210:24:24

The real crimes like Making Of A Murderer

0:24:240:24:26

that was, as far as I remember, ten episodes, something like that

0:24:260:24:30

was really good because it twisted and turned

0:24:300:24:32

and they thought they had him and then they didn't and then they found new evidence and so on.

0:24:320:24:36

And that journey is much more characteristic

0:24:360:24:39

than the short, compressed versions, even if they're real.

0:24:390:24:43

You're dealing with the police, you're dealing with the perpetrators, but how do you engage

0:24:430:24:47

with the victim's point of view?

0:24:470:24:49

In the most recent series, Channel 4 asked us

0:24:490:24:52

and the film-makers set out very much to include the victim's parents

0:24:520:24:57

as very active participants in that series,

0:24:570:25:01

and they agreed and got a great deal out of it and so did the audience.

0:25:010:25:05

It won a Bafta because was a 360-degree view of this murder

0:25:050:25:10

and I've filmed victims in the past

0:25:100:25:13

and I'm particularly interested in restorative justice,

0:25:130:25:15

which gives victims a voice.

0:25:150:25:18

One word - why?

0:25:180:25:20

Why would somebody want to hurt Nicholas?

0:25:210:25:24

They shouldn't kill my son.

0:25:280:25:30

In the early 1980s, Roger spent over a year

0:25:340:25:37

filming the Thames Valley Police for a BBC series.

0:25:370:25:41

In one episode,

0:25:420:25:44

they followed a rape case which posed several editorial dilemmas.

0:25:440:25:48

So, you recognised them from the pub, not having seen them before?

0:25:490:25:52

-Yeah. I hadn't seen them before, ever before.

-Yeah.

0:25:520:25:55

No, I hadn't seen them before today.

0:25:550:25:57

The girl was slightly damaged and had been in mental hospitals

0:25:570:26:01

and so on and we had tried five other cases before we did this one.

0:26:010:26:06

But because she didn't want to be on camera

0:26:060:26:09

it's all filmed from behind her head

0:26:090:26:11

and that means that the camera is looking right at you, the audience, right?

0:26:110:26:15

And so instead of you sitting round judging her,

0:26:150:26:18

you feel the way the interrogation goes

0:26:180:26:20

and that's what gave it the power it had.

0:26:200:26:22

And in a curious way,

0:26:220:26:24

it neutralised the experience from it being a personal one,

0:26:240:26:27

although obviously it was awful for her.

0:26:270:26:29

She might have concocted the rape story or something like that.

0:26:290:26:32

-Or she knows these three lads and she's...

-A cover-up job?

0:26:320:26:35

Yeah, she's never, ever seen these three lads before, she claims,

0:26:350:26:38

and yet, she recognised them when she came out the pub.

0:26:380:26:40

The programme had an immediate impact.

0:26:400:26:42

It led to a change in police procedure

0:26:420:26:45

over how rape victims were interviewed.

0:26:450:26:48

And it showed the value of sensitively-made crime documentaries.

0:26:480:26:51

Every film I've made - I mean every film I've made -

0:26:520:26:55

has been an attempt to either understand a social problem

0:26:550:26:58

or if I've understood it, to do something about it.

0:26:580:27:01

Do you think there are difficulties inherent in the documentary process

0:27:010:27:06

and its relationship to truth?

0:27:060:27:07

Of course. First of all, you can't show the whole thing.

0:27:070:27:10

Secondly, you can't film the whole thing, you can't be...

0:27:100:27:12

We were at the Thames Valley at Reading Police Station

0:27:120:27:16

nine months out of 12

0:27:160:27:18

and we still called our own work, "you should've been there Thursday"

0:27:180:27:21

because no matter when we turned up,

0:27:210:27:23

-that's what the cops would say to us.

-Yes.

0:27:230:27:25

Right? And we missed all the high-profile cases.

0:27:250:27:28

The really interesting thing about that series is there's almost no crime in it,

0:27:280:27:31

there's certainly no big-time cases.

0:27:310:27:34

The rape film turned absolutely no...

0:27:340:27:36

It went nowhere, they let her go and she walks away,

0:27:360:27:38

and it was in real-time. It was an hour and a half of filming,

0:27:380:27:41

we showed 45 minutes of it.

0:27:410:27:43

It was the most important film ever shown

0:27:430:27:46

-about police practice up to that point.

-Mm-hmm.

0:27:460:27:48

There are all sorts of obstacles to communicating truth.

0:27:560:27:59

Making stuff up is a way of putting fictional situations

0:27:590:28:02

in front of people so they can get a handle on real events

0:28:020:28:06

without feeling preached at.

0:28:060:28:07

But whether we re-examine the world

0:28:110:28:13

by taking aspects of it to fantastical extremes

0:28:130:28:16

or highlighting injustice by showing the consequences of our actions,

0:28:160:28:20

the power to create comes with responsibility

0:28:200:28:23

to reflect the real issues of our time in a truthful way.

0:28:230:28:26

Is fiction the best way to access the truth? Award-winning Scottish crime writer Val McDermid explores the relationship between fiction, video games and real-life crime documentary. She talks to Ken MacLeod and Richard K Morgan, whose science fiction novels offer a commentary on current political events. She meets Malath Abbas, the designer of Killbox, a new game about the ethics of drone warfare, and Lucas Pope, whose Bafta-winning Papers Please examines the moral and political decisions faced by an immigration officer. McDermid discusses the importance and the pitfalls of covering real-life crime with veteran documentary maker and criminologist Roger Graef.


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