Sunday, October 11, 2009



Hosted by UK actor Ross Kemp – best known for his role as tough guy Grant Mitchell on the UK soapie Eastenders – Ross Kemp on Gangs is an investigative series which takes us into the inner sanctums of some of the worlds most notorious and dangerous street gangs. What could have easily been a glossy puff-piece series is given weight and made engrossing by the level of access which Kemp is given by some of the gang leaders and the fact that the host is prepared to take some obvious risks, putting himself in potentially dangerous locations and situations in his quest to get himself as close as he can to the pulse of these tribal organizations (whom, despite their different ideologies, are essentially fighting for the same thing - protection and ownership of their own backyard).

Some of the cities and countries which Kemp visits over the course of the 12 episodes in this series include El Salvador (where he investigates the notorious M 13 gang), St Louis (one of America’s most gangster rife cities, where the Bloods and the Crips fight an ongoing turf war), Poland (a vicious gang of neo-Nazi soccer thugs who make English football hooligans look like a Wiggles audience), Kenya, Bulgaria and Los Angeles (where the rising Latino gangs are rapidly outnumbering the blacks).

I’d never heard of this BAFTA award winning series until a review copy of it filed into my PO box last week…apparently it has been shown on Foxtel here in Australia at some point. If you are an anthropologist or just a casual true crime fan with an interest in the subject matter, it’s well worth picking up this three disc set when it is released in Australia on October 16.

John Harrison