Ambassadors episode 2 review

This World: Kidnap Cops review | Robinho’s mom

Published by jamdog on 17th April, 2006.

 This World: Kidnap Cops, review

This World: Kidnap Cops

BBC2

Everybody’s got to make a living and how you do so is down to your personal conscience. If you have a high IQ and have low latent inhibition like Michael from Prison Break then you’ll become a genius with a pathological need to rescue people. If you’re a smart-arse with too much time on your hands then you’ll probably do what I do – which is next to fuck all half the time. Some lucky souls are even fortunate enough to earn their living with their feet and become professional footballers. As we all know, being a professional footballer is like winning the lottery only with blowjobs from Cheryl Tweedy thrown in.

"Being a professional footballer is like winning the lottery only with blowjobs from Cheryl Tweedy thrown in."

Little wonder, then, that the pro soccer player gets his fair share of hangers-on. And a fairly obscure but worrying strain of this kind of parasite was revealed in This World: Kidnap Cops – the Brazilian footballer’s mom kidnapper. You’ve heard of star players holding a club to ransom with unreasonable wage demands? Well, these guys take it a step further and hold the star player to ransom by abducting and threatening to kill their mother. The Brazilian criminal does not miss an opportunity to take a metaphor literally.

"’Sometimes you beat them up. But usually you just kill them’. I hope you’re taking notes here."

This World comes at the problem from all angles. There was testimony from Robinho’s mother, Robinho himself and some teenage kidnappers who gave helpful tips on what to do if an abductee becomes difficult. "Sometimes you beat them up. But usually you just kill them". I hope you’re taking notes here.

The programme obtained exclusive footage of Robinho’s mother in captivity being threatened with having various parts of her person cut off with a knife. Wearing that familiar Ken Bigley "come get me" look, the mother’s face is a study in resigned stoicism. In a scene they don’t show, they cut her hair off with a knife. Small wonder that Robino paid a $75,000 ransom for the release of his mother. These are not the people you want to play hardball with.

"Wearing that familiar Ken Bigley ‘come get me’ look, the mother’s face is a study in resigned stoicism."

We get to talk to the kidnapper himself – Marcelo Da Silva a handsome, ruthless 32 year-old career criminal known across Brazil as "Bin Laden", the most notorious kidnapper in the country. About as remorse free as you can imagine, he speaks candidly about his crime, his likely 50-year sentence and his attitude towards Robinho’s mother. "I don’t have a problem with her". Well, that’s a fucking relief. So the impromptu hair styling was a salon critique then? To be fair, those dreads did look a bit skanky so it’s not all bad. Pardon me if I look for the silver lining in all this.

"You wonder what kind of ransom the granny Wayne Rooney was fucking would require?"

I can think of a whole load of footballers whose mothers deserve to be kidnapped simply for giving birth to their spawn. Emile Heskey‘s for example, though she’d obviously need to be broken out of the donkey sanctuary first. You wonder what kind of ransom the granny Wayne Rooney was fucking would require? Perhaps you’d play the long game and wait for the smell of scampi to smoke the kidnappers out?

Be in no doubt, though, that this is serious shit. In the first two weeks of filming four members of Sao Paulo’s anti-kidnapping squad die in shoot outs with criminal gangs. Brazil is a beautiful country riddled with inequality, endemic corruption and Itchy and Skratchy levels of violence. The cops lined up against the kidnappers truly are heroes.

"Brazil is a beautiful country riddled with huge inequality, endemic corruption and Itchy and Skratchy levels of violence."

But let’s not paint the kidnappers as the bad guys here. It’s so easy to condemn and so easy to judge. Aerial Telly doesn’t make judgments – he leaves that to Jeremy Kyle. But footballer’s Mom’s kidnappers are one of the few groups of people in Brazil who actually earn their money. It can’t be easy living for 41 days with what is basically a walking scrapbook talking about how little Robinho was top scorer at his youth club team six years running.

Just saying, is all.

The best thing about it: Foul-mouthed phone tapes from kidnappers demanding ransoms.

The worst thing about it: Dreary and utterly predictable poverty pleading explanations from the scrotes.

The verdict on This World: Kidnap Cops, BBC2 : Ambassador, your true-crime documentaries have kidnapped our hearts.

Marks out of 10: 7.5

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