Charles Bronson, often called Britain’s most notorious prisoner, is the subject of a new Channel 4 documentary.

Bronson: Fit to be Free? aired on Monday, and featured interviews with Bronson from inside HM Prison Woodhill in Milton Keynes, where he remains locked up.

A public parole board hearing for Bronson is set for Monday 6 and Wednesday 8 March at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, and could result in the 70-year-old’s release.

Bronson has spent the majority of his adult life in prison, but could get out, due to a new law that allows such hearings to take place.

“I’m focused, I’m settled, I can actually smell and taste freedom like I’ve never, ever done in my life,” Bronson says during the documentary, speaking over the phone to his brother.

“I’m now anti-crime, anti-violent. What the f*** am I still in prison for?”

Here’s why Bronson landed in prison, and how he became one of the UK’s most infamous inmates.

Why is Charles Bronson in prison?

Bronson, who was born Michael Peterson in Luton in 1952, first went to prison in 1974, after he was found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to seven years.

However, he received additional time for attacking prison guards and fellow inmates, meaning he was not released until 1987. This is when he changed his name to Charles Bronson, which he felt more fitting to a new career in bare-knuckle boxing.

It was only a year before Bronson was back in prison after he was convicted of planning another robbery.

Frequent attacks on prisoners and guards, as well as a number of instances in which he took people hostage, eventually resulted in Bronson’s sentence being upgraded to life imprisonment.

Bronson, who creates art in prison, changed his name to Charles Salvador in 2014 in honour of Salvador Dali.

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Why is Charles Bronson so notorious?

Bronson has developed a reputation for being one of the UK’s most violent prisoners.

His most notorious incidents include attacking a fellow prisoner with a glass jug in 1975, and carrying out a three-day protest on a prison rooftop in 1985.

In 1994 Bronson held a prison librarian hostage, demanding an inflatable doll, a helicopter and a cup of tea as ransom. He has orchestrated several other hostage situations, and due to his behaviour has spent much of his time behind bars in solitary confinement.

Bronson has been moved 120 times since first being locked up, and has also spent time in psychiatric institutions, including Broadmoor Hospital.

He has written books about his prison experiences, including about his prison fitness regime, something that has long been important to him.

A dramatisation of his time in prison called Bronson, starring Tom Hardy in the titular role, was released in 2008.

Bronson is a keen painter and has seen his work sell for thousands. In 2014, a sale of 200 of his pieces raised more than £30,000 at auction. Much of his work depicts prison life.

The Charles Salvador Art Foundation was founded in 2014 to promote his artwork and “help those in positions even less fortunate than his own” to participate in art.

He has previously stated: “I’m a nice guy, but sometimes I lose all my senses and become nasty. That doesn’t make me evil, just confused.”

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