I owe my good friends at the National Geographic Channel some love. They send press releases, but sometimes I get bogged down and forget to post them. Well, I’m making sure this particular programming note gets mentioned. One program I particularly love is Locked Up Abroad where the show recreates people getting arrested in foreign lands. It can be very scary and tonight’s season premiere looks into what happened to one American who got arrested on drug charges in Turkey and spent five years leading to his escape then eventual freedom. Sound familiar? Yes, tonight’s program focuses on Billy Hayes, the subject of the movie, Midnight Express. But Billy wasn’t happy with the movie and in Locked Up Abroad, he tells us what really happened behind bars and how he managed to escape from prison.
Here’s a look plus some videos from tonight’s program.
LOCKED UP ABROAD: THE REAL MIDNIGHT EXPRESSWednesday, June 30 at 10pm ET/PT“In 1978 Hollywood made a film about my life, it was called Midnight Express and it told the story of my imprisonment and escape from a prison in Istanbul. The story itself was based upon the book I had written. In the book I could only say certain things for legal reasons. The movie itself changed even the book to a point where not all of it is valid and true to my story. Now I have a chance to tell my story.” – Billy HayesREENACTMENT: Billy Hayes (actor) at the Greek border being held at gun point. Billy had staged a dramatic escape, stealing a boat and rowing 20 miles to the mainland. After trying to find an unguarded spot through which to cross into Greece, Billly ran into a military checkpoint, where he was immediately arrested. The animosity between Greece and Turkey shielded Billy from extradition. With the Greeks on his side, he was finally free and able to make the final journey back to Long Island, five years after his first attempt. (Photo credit: © Raw Television)
The Oscar-winning 1978 film “Midnight Express” told the story of 23-year-old college student Billy Hayes ? his imprisonment for drug smuggling and his escape from a prison in Istanbul, Turkey. But for legal reasons, neither the film nor the book, authored by Hayes, was completely accurate. Now, Billy tells the full story of being sent to the infamous Turkish Sa?malc?lar prison and eventually escaping. After serving five years and believing he is about to be set free, he is told instead that his sentence has been increased to life in prison. Devastated, he is determined to escape ? and risk death to do it. His journey to freedom begins after being transferred to another prison located on an island, stealing a fisherman’s dinghy and heaving a skiff 17 miles through the rolling waves to the mainland. However, once he reaches the shore, Billy runs into a military checkpoint, where he is immediately arrested. His captors turn out to be Greek, historical enemies of those who had previously incarcerated him, and Billy is granted his long-awaited freedom.
Video “Locked Up Abroad: The Real Midnight Express” – Locked Up Abroad re-examines the life of Billy Hayes, and this time, all is revealed.
Video “Catching a Drug Smuggler” – Just mere steps from his flight, Billy is caught attempting to smuggle two kilos of hash out of Turkey.
Video “Posing as a Mental Patient” – Hayes fakes insanity in order to transfer to a mental hospital, only to find that the hospital is much worse than prison.
Video “Escape from an Island Prison” – In a prison surrounded by water, Billy steals out in the dead of night, jumps in a canoe, and rows hours to safety.
Last but not least, if you’re a fan of Locked Up Abroad, you’ll know that in many of the stories (though, of course, not all) there are drugs involved. We’ll be going behind-the-scenes of this $300 billion global industry on Sunday, July 11 and Monday, July 12 through four episodes of Drugs, Inc., and provide a 360º view of our society’s most abused drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.
Thanks to publicist, Minjae Ormes for sending me the info on Locked Up Abroad. It’s greatly appreciated.