As BBC Enterprises launched a range of board games, junior surveillance kits and corner boy dolls, the BBC has been accused of missing the point of acclaimed US police drama, The Wire. Critics complain that the novelty gift range, launched to capitalise on the Christmas market, in some way trivialises the issues of drug addiction, poverty and murder highlighted in the series.
‘The Wire – the Board Game’ invites children to build a drugs empire, but as they progress round the board they have to avoid the hazards of murder, being robbed by Omar and getting busted. However, it’s the Corner Boy Dolls that have drawn most criticism. ‘Are we really asking kids to hero worship the likes of Marlo, Avon Barksdale and Proposition Joe,’ thundered Peter Hitchens in his column in the Mail on Sunday. ‘Surely young people should aspire to being Mayor Carcetti, or even Bunk, the honest hard working family man cop’ complained Hitchens, ‘but not in broken Britain.’
Some parents have complained about the foul language coming from the dolls when you pull the string in their back, prompting them to say ‘I is gonna a put a cap in your ass motherfucker,’ or ‘Don’t fuck with me you fucking fuck.’
However, one children’s games expert had a grim prognosis verdict on the market for the games. ‘They should have launched this at middle-aged, middle-class white men. They’re the ones who watch the programme. The kids just want cash for Christmas, so they can go out and buy crack-cocaine.’