19/04/2017 15:57 BST | Updated 19/04/2017 16:11 BST

'Born To Kill' Writer Claims: 'Much Teenage Behaviour Is Similar To A Psychopath'

'He incites both sympathy and horror.'

’Born To Kill’ debuts this week on Channel 4, showcasing the behaviour of a teenage psychopathic killer Sam (played by newcomer Jack Rowan), amidst his unsettlingly normal surroundings - including an overworked mum, a girl he likes, and a hospital ward whose elderly patients he often sits by to comfort. 

The decision to make the subject of this drama a teenage killer was deliberate one by first-time writer Kate Ashfield because, she claims, so much teenage behaviour is similar to that of a psychopath, so the lines of what is and isn’t perceived as normal behaviour become blurred. 

“The question arises of what his mother should do, and how much you put down to normal teenage behavior?” explains Kate. “They don’t actually call teenagers psychopaths, because a lot of teenage behaviour is very similar.”

Channel 4
Newcomer Jack Rowan plays teenage psychopath Sam in 'Born to Kill'

While that in itself is an unsettling thought, Kate is keen that her teenage villain incites sympathy as well as horror. 

“The thing about him being a teenager is that you go along with him up to a point and then, there will be moments for both [sympathy and horror], from scene to scene, hopefully.

“That’s the whole point of him being a child - could something have stopped him if the stars had aligned? If his mother Jenny had come back with the chips? (this before a particularly gruesome scene at the end of Episode 1) If it could have been different? But then in the end, his personality takes over. But at  the end of it all, you still have some feeling for him, because it’s not in his control that he is the way he is.”

As well as Sam in the central role, the drama also stars Romola Garai as Sam’s troubled mother, and Daniel Mays as a divorced policeman whose life crosses the path of Sam, with unsettling results. 

‘Born to Kill’ begins on Thursday on Channel 4 at 9pm. 

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