TV UK, 23 July

Are there more undercover filmmakers than fascists in the BNP?

Dolan Cummings

Topics Culture

There was a memorable image in last week’s high-profile BBC documentary The Secret Agent (1). It was a photograph of British National Party leader Nick Griffin, flanked on one side by Andy Sykes, a BNP organiser who was really working undercover for the anti-fascist group Searchlight, and on the other by Jason Gwynne, a BNP member who was really the undercover journalist responsible for the programme.

Whatever next? Maybe soon we will see a new documentary, called The Secret Fuhrer perhaps, laying the final piece of the jigsaw…. Nick Griffin reveals how he infiltrated the BNP for a summer project while at film school 20 years ago, and gradually rose to become the party leader. ‘I was shocked by what these people let me say and do’, he declares, ‘but I soon realised that many had joined the party with the same honourable intentions as myself’. Griffin estimates that between 30 and 40 per cent of BNP members are actually undercover filmmakers, but explains that competition for commissions means that many are having to bide their time….

You would think that ‘real’ BNP members would have grown cautious by now, but fortunately for filmmakers, most of them aren’t too bright. One BNPer who did seem to moderate his comments around Gwynne in The Secret Agent is Mark Collett, the pride and joy of the party on account of the fact he has a degree. Collett was stitched up himself a couple of years ago by a reporter who wasn’t even undercover. In Young, Nazi and Proud (Channel 4), David Modell profiled Collett, then leader of the party’s youth wing, and scooped all sorts of ‘shocking’ revelations simply by leaving his camera on when Collett thought he was speaking off the record (2).

The BNP’s intellectual powerhouse seems to have learned his lesson, and gave Gwynne a spiel about how great Pakistani shopkeepers are while the two were alone together. The most conciliatory remark he could manage while speaking at a public meeting, however, was that immigrants are merely cockroaches, and the real enemy is the white politicians who have sold Britain out. This echoed a speech he made in Young, Nazi and Proud about ‘white slags’ sleeping with Asians. Back to our imaginary documentary, The Secret Fuhrer…. Nick Griffin says that Collett is clearly very uncomfortable with his white identity, and the sooner he gets his own commission the better.

Alternatively, perhaps he could watch Pagans (Mondays at 9pm), the new Channel 4 series by Richard Rudgley, which celebrates the culture of ‘our’ northern European pagan forebears. This is a follow-up to Rudgley’s dire series on Barbarians (4), in which he was similarly eager to overturn the image of his subjects established by Roman and Christian ‘propagandists’. Monday’s episode was a rather confused repudiation of the idea that pagans were obsessed with sex, which only showed that commissioning editors are even more obsessed with sex than they are with the BNP.

There’s a tip for an aspiring filmmaker biding his time in Burnley.

Read on:

spiked-issue: TV

(1) Blowing up the BNP, by Sandy Starr

(2) Young, Nazi and Proud

(3) TV UK, 11 July 2002

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Culture


Want to join the conversation?

Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

Join today