Shropshire Star

Birmingham's 'Fake Sheikh' in spotlight once again after Amazon Prime documentary

The incredible story of Birmingham's 'Fake Shiekh' or 'King of Sting' is back in the spotlight thanks to a new Amazon Prime documentary.

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Police image of 'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood, whose identity was revealed after the collapsed case of Tulisa Contostavlos

Notorious investigative newspaper reporter Mazher Mahmood had lots of names – and lots of undercover exposes to go with them.

The controversial journalist was born in Birmingham and grew up in Small Heath.

He first gained employment as a journalist at the age of 18, exposing family friends who sold pirate videos. This gained him two weeks’ work at the now shut down News of the World, where he made his name as a ‘ruthless’ reporter who was highly admired among colleagues who worked for the tabloids for his ability to get shocking exclusives.

He tricked his way into the circles of some of the country’s most powerful people to provide some of the biggest stories during the early 2000s.

The Fake Sheikh, from Voltage TV and on Amazon Prime, tells the thrilling story of the maverick undercover journalist whose stories generated headlines all over the world by his use of false identities.

During his time at the News of the World and the Sunday Times, he was responsible for numerous investigations, including a reputed 94 that led to criminal convictions.

A Page 3 model, the manager of the England football team Sven-Göran Eriksson, N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos, Victoria Beckham and even members of the Royal Family were targeted by Mahmood.

The three-part original documentary series will track Mahmood’s meteoric rise to the highest ranks of the tabloid press - twice winning Reporter of The Year at The British Press Awards - and his subsequent downfall and imprisonment.

The interviewees in the four-part series include those within Mahmood’s inner circle who, in some cases, are talking for the first time about the operation and tactics of the reporter, with never-before-broadcast footage of the so-called King of the Sting in action.

The series will also give a voice to those who were stung, so that they will have the chance to tell their side on well-known tabloid stories that in many cases had devastating effects on their lives.

The Amazon Prime series started on Tuesday, September 26.

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