Do not broadcast Stephen Nolan interview with vulnerable man, plead victim's family
The family of a vulnerable man who admitted to taking unprescribed medication and being "mentally ill" during a jailhouse interview with Stephen Nolan has urged the BBC not to broadcast his comments across Britain.
Relatives of Kieran McGrandles (30), who also revealed he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child, spoke out after Mr Nolan confirmed the controversial series is to be aired on the main BBC 2 channel after first appearing on BBC Northern Ireland.
Mr McGrandles, a father-of-one, died from a suspected overdose at a property in the Elgin Street area of south Belfast, off the Ormeau Road, on May 5.
His family has called on the BBC in Belfast to remove an interview carried out as part of the 'Jailed: Inside Maghaberry Prison' series, from its iPlayer service.
Mr Nolan's production company, Third Street Studios, is behind the series, which is fronted by the broadcaster.
While relatives of Mr McGrandles were not contacted by the BBC, a Prison Service official spoke to his mother Geraldine one working day before the interview was broadcast.
During the interview Mr McGrandles appeared agitated and threatened to shoot dead a police officer, doctor and sex offender.
He also revealed he had taken medication not prescribed to him on the morning of the interview.
"I took medication this morning, it's not prescribed to me," he said.
"I went and bought it.
He added during the interview "I am mentally ill".
Earlier this year, Mr McGrandles was jailed for five months after assaulting a nurse who was treating him.
The circumstances of his death are currently being investigated by Prisoner Ombudsman, Dr Lesley Carroll.
To date the Maghaberry series has only been aired in the north and is currently available via the iPlayer.
However, on Tuesday Mr Nolan revealed on his morning radio programme that the series is now set to be broadcast by BBC 2 to a much wider audience.
"Everywhere I go people are stopping me in the street to talk about it," he told listeners.
Describing the series as "complex" he went on to say that it is the "most watched series that BBCNI have ever had on the iPlayer for week one".
Mr McGrandles' uncle Seamus McAloran said he was "taken aback" when he found out the Maghaberry series will now be shown across Britain.
"It was the first we learned about it," he said.
"Our aim is to keep Kieran off the series, now it's going to be shown on what they call 'the network'.
"We want Kieran taken out of the series for all the reasons we have outlined previously.
"He should not have been in it in the first place.
"We call on BBC 2 not to broadcast the interview with Kieran."
The family of murder victim Alice Morrow has also called for an interview with her killer not to be aired and for it to be removed from the iPlayer.
The 53-year-old grandmother was murdered by William Hutchinson in east Belfast in March 2019.
Hutchinson initially denied murdering his partner but pleaded guilty as he was set to go on trial in June 2021.
He now denies killing Ms Morrow and during one interview produced a picture of his victim in his prison cell.
A Spokesman for the BBC in Belfast said: “The entire series of Jailed: Inside Maghaberry has been available on a UK-wide basis on BBC iPlayer since early September and will now be broadcast over consecutive weeks on BBC network television.
“We think that Jailed: Inside Maghaberry is an important piece of journalism and that it deals with issues of significant public interest. We take seriously our duty of care to everyone who takes part in BBC programmes. Kieran gave his informed consent to filming and it’s something that we discussed subsequently with him (and others), recognising all of the issues/sensitivities involved. We know that Kieran’s testimony was difficult and emotionally charged. It was also something that he very much wanted to share.
“We have been in touch with Kieran’s family to explain how we approached his interview and would hope to continue that conversation, recognising their interest in understanding more about what took place and everything that we did to ensure that Kieran was properly supported in making his contribution.”