The Man Who Squeezes Muscles: Searching for Purple Aki

Watch this episode here

The title of this documentary, which does draw viewers in, left me thinking that there was some sort of alternative meaning before I took to watching the episode, however I was surprised to find that it was much more literal than I had imagined. The programme follows the many stories that people around liverpool have surrounding this ‘bizarre offender’ who has also been described as the ‘modern day bogeyman’ (BBC, 2016). There is good use of cutaways and establishing shots, as well as eerie music to help build tension  and ensure that the true severity of this somewhat questionable topic was captured. A hand held camera has been used for the majority of the programme which I think creates another way of making it more serious.

Now I’m not going to lie, when I watched this, there were a few points at which I couldn’t quite decide whether it was a documentary or a mockumentary. I watched it on the kitchen TV at home with my dad sat watching it too and at the part when interviewee Kelly Mullaney states “he’s just purple and huge”, my dad couldn’t contain his laughter and said “you’ve got to be having me on. ‘Purple Aki’ has taken offence to this statement however, claiming that the BBC programme was racist and demonised him (Guardian, 2016).

Many Liverpudlians, however, from start to finish are able to legitimise the seemingly tall tale with their common knowledge of him and some of the personal stories that are shared of encounters with Akinwale Arobieke, one of which resulted in the manslaughter of Gary Kelly. The title of this programme first of all entices an audience and it is based around a topic that most will never have heard of before. The filming and editing create the serious atmosphere intended for the show and a lot has been packed into the short running time of 16 minutes.



BBC (2016) The man who squeezes muscles. Available at: (Accessed: 13 February 2017).

Hattenstone, S. and Allison, E. (2016) Bodybuilder’s race hate claim against BBC investigated by police bodybuilder’s race hate claim against BBC investigated by police. Available at: (Accessed: 13 February 2017).


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