British digital-only pubcaster BBC3 has commissioned London-based indie Alaska TV to produce a one-off special detailing the downfall of a Scottish YouTuber facing jail time over a video of a canine.
Tentatively titled Jailed for a ‘Joke’, the film will document the trials of Markus Meechan, who, in Spring 2018, was arrested and subsequently found guilty of violating Britain’s Communications Act after publishing a viral video of himself training his girlfriend’s dog to raise its paw in a Nazi salute.
The hour-long film will explore the story from Meechan’s original post, to the present day as he awaits his next court appearance, having been refused the right to appeal against a fine of £800 (US$1,000). The doc will also look to address critical issues surrounding freedom of speech, the boundaries of comedy and anti-Semitism.
Meechan is due back in court next month and may face an additional custodial sentence.
Alaska’s Ian Lamarra and Paul Sommers serve as executive producers on Jailed for a ‘Joke’. The film was commissioned by outgoing BBC3 controller Damian Kavanagh with Gian Quaglieni serving as BBC commissioning editor.
“Censorship in comedy and the policing of user published content online are fascinating and important debates,” said Lamarra in a statement. “This current case has it all and with the eyes of the world on it, the film will exclusively follow it to its conclusion. For a young BBC3 audience, it could be a vital program.”
Lamarra returned to Alaska TV as creative director in October 2018 following a stint at Avalon Television. Alaska opened a Brighton office upon Lamarra’s return to the UK indie he co-founded in 2010, alongside Sommers and Chris Fouracre.