LONDON (CBS) British military and entertainment agencies are locked in battle over a TV movie about the fictional kidnapping of Britain's Prince Harry.
The movie, "The Taking of Prince Harry," is set to air tonight on Channel 4.
Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, who heads the British armed forces, reportedly has written to Channel 4 pleading with bosses not to allow the screening of the program, which has a plot centering on the kidnap of Prince Harry, played by actor Sebastian Reid, in Afghanistan. It shows scenes of the prince being held behind enemy lines while his release is negotiated.
Hamish Mykura, head of documentaries at Channel 4, has defended the film saying that it shows nothing that could not be new to these types of organizations In a statement, Channel 4 said the program was "rooted in expert testimony" and "treats the subject matter sensitively."
The 26-year-old prince spent 10 weeks serving in Afghanistan in 2007-08, until word that he was there leaked to the media and he was removed for safety reasons. The prince, who is third in line for the throne behind his father, Prince Charles, and brother Prince William, has repeatedly said he would like to go back.
While the royal family has not commented publicly, the palace is extremely upset over it.
A royal mole tells me, "Lets not forget that Prince Harry did in fact serve for queen and country in the war and to think this is the thanks that he and the rest of his army unit receive is deplorable, when you think about it. "
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are reportedly upset. The prince especially is fearful that this could lead some mad extremists to think of the possibilities such a scenario affords.
I can reveal that Prince Harry, normally so cheerful about his PR despite how bad it may appear, is clearly upset that the movie has been allowed to go ahead.
The queen also is upset that her family could become targets as her spending cuts on security details have been so well-documented with some lesser royals having their security personnel removed entirely.
Another royal mole very close to the family concluded, "It's extremely bad taste given the prince's desire to go back and help in that country. No one has seen the film nor intends to, but one can't help but wonder what lengths some TV channels will go" to hype up controversy.