Wallen Matthie recalls working on a documentary about gangs in Manchester

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And also at the time you worked on a documentary about guns and drugs in Manchester. Did you feel that there was any antipathy from the black community?

Yes, there certainly was. What I did was to do my research. And when you do your research accurately and properly you’ll generally find that all the people in the black community wanted that to be exposed because they, you know, had black on black crime and you need to get to grips with that. It wasn’t just black people in Manchester at the time saying things aren’t right, so let’s get at the establishment, it was black on black crime. I remember when we did the programme, a fairly senior police officer was explaining to us that when he went to investigate a murder in a pub in Hulme, and he had been in the police service for nearly 30 years, it was the first time he had walked into a pub and people were playing pool whilst there was a dead body on the floor and people pretending that it wasn’t there. Nobody saw anything at all. That was pretty frightening. I knew that people in the black community were saying ‘Go ahead and make that programme.’ I didn’t just go and say ‘I wanted to do this programme.’ And indeed some of the people who were themselves involved said ‘Yeah we need to expose all this.’

I had no problems with doing that at all. It was the sensible thing to do, it was highlighting a problem that needed to be addressed because the area was getting a really bad reputation and I thought at the time because it was an area I grew up in and my parents still lived in that area that it was something I had to do. I didn’t think twice about getting involved in that programme; it was something that had to be done. And as a result of that it started a whole range of things happening. There was changes in Moss Side in terms of housing, how policing was done in the area, local politicians got more involved, the councils got more involved, so a whole range of stuff came out of that. And I’m glad I did it.

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