HARDMAN actor Ross Kemp has been condemned by Glasgow leaders for his “ridiculous” portrayal of the city as a third world warzone.
Kemp’s new TV series compares Glasgow with cities in Pakistan, Mexico and Kenya which are plagued by organised drugs gangs, religiously-motivated terrorism, and people-trafficking.
Ross Kemp: Extreme World starts tomorrow (Mon) by examining violence involving gangs and police in the dockside area of Karachi, Pakistan.
Last week, the actor caused a storm by claiming that Glasgow was the toughest of all the places he visited.
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, today led the fightback.
He said: “These comparisons are clearly ridiculous. It’s lazy journalism of the worst kind, is based entirely on outmoded stereotypes and sends out a dangerous message.
“For a programme like this to appear now, just as we’r about to launch a campaign attracting visitors to the city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is potentially very damaging.”
City insiders have claimed the programme makers, Tiger Aspect, had a “fixed idea of the subject matter”.
Several Glasgow organisations are said to have refused to take part in the programme because Tiger Aspect “demonstrated little interest in profiling positive local initiatives”.
Mr Patrick added: “Anyone who knows Glasgow might laugh off what is patently a cynical marketing ploy to flog an increasingly tired programme format.
“But stories like this unquestionably have a negative impact upon attracting inward investment and fresh talent.
“Nobody is denying that the city has had its share of problems.
“What this programme seems determined to ignore, however, is that for more than a decade we’ve been fighting back and winning.”
The Glasgow edition of the series is said to focus on poverty and alcohol, featuring a 46-year-old alcholic who broke off five toes and kept them in a jar after suffering frostbite in his freezing flat.”
A council spokesman said: “What is undoubtedly missing from the programme is the extensive system of support that’s available for people in difficulty, support that individuals in this film have repeatedly refused to accept.”
No-one was available for comment from broadcaster Sky or Tiger Aspect.