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Reality TV gone too far?


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He's lucky he only got fired. If he'd done it in this country and picked the wrong person he could have ended up in the hospital or dead.

'Mugged' by TV Show Pranksters

11:00 - 29 November 2005

A Man was left shocked and angry after being pounced on by a prankster in a balaclava as part of a TV stunt. Mike Karthauser was walking through the city centre to pay some money into the bank when the man jumped out on him.

Mike, 30, said he was terrified he might be robbed or even stabbed.

But he was in fact the unwitting victim of a candid-camera style TV programme being filmed as part of a pilot show.

The web designer from Ashton Vale was on his way to pay in £200 of his company's money to the bank and said he thought the man was after his money or mobile phone.

Mike, a father-of-one, said: "I was heading towards the bank, near Corn Street, when I saw a man wearing a balaclava walk past me.

"The next thing I knew he came up to me and put his face about three inches away from mine, it really took me off guard.

"He must have been more than six feet tall, it was very intimidating.

"I thought I was going to have my mobile phone stolen, or get stabbed or something. The fear was really building up inside me and I just didn't know what was going to happen.

"At the time I was speaking to my partner on my phone and one minute I was talking to her, and the next minute all she heard was me screaming and then the phone went dead. She was at home looking after our nine-month-old baby and was terrified for me.

"I tried to get away but then he pointed out a camera on top of a nearby building and said it was for a programme for TV."

Mike said the man in the balaclava told him the stunt was being filmed for use in a programme to be screened on Channel Four.

"After I had been to the bank I saw the police on the scene and it looked like the pranksters had targeted an older lady and she looked very concerned," he said.

The incident brought back bad memories for Mike who had been mugged in similar circumstances a few years ago.

He said: "A couple of years ago I had a similar thing happen when a man attacked me outside a pub, so this prank was particularly distressing.

"I just don't think it was very professional to target people for their own enjoyment. They just seemed to want to scare people. It could have ended very differently."

The stunt was part of a new pilot show called the Urban Survival Guide.

The programme is the brainchild of Bedminster-based TV producer Rhianna Glass, 33, who has set up, and is managing director of, Elemental Produktions.

The Evening Post contacted Ms Glass who said she was sorry for any upset caused.

Ms Glass, a single mother, said the programme was not commissioned by Channel Four.

She said: "The sketch has been scrapped and the presenter was told not to approach the public.

"He no longer works for us. I'd like to apologise deeply to anyone who was upset by the stunt. We will not be showing it."

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