But the journey I’ve made over the last few months has opened my eyes.I've met young people up and down the country who really didn’t have much choice about whether or not to join up with a gang.
Like many kids in my area I was offered the chance to get involved in gangs and make some fast money. I was also given the opportunity to take up acting, and eventually that led to a part in a TV series.
When I began working on Reggie Yates: Teen Gangs (Tuesday, 9pm) I had some pretty firm views.
I started out thinking that people who become involved in gangs were just weak or foolish.
He looked much more like the kind of bright young college student that you might find at lunchtimes in the library, but he'd spent time in prison as part of Manchester's notorious Gooch Gang, and had been involved in drug dealing, violence and carrying weapons.
I was shocked, because he looked such an unlikely gang member.
Some did it for protection, others just to survive.Take Darren, a bespectacled 22 year old from Manchester.Drama gave me a way out, and provided a different direction to my life.I've always known that I had been lucky in that respect, but making this film about teen gangs has really driven home to me just how fortunate I've been.But as I chatted to him it became apparent just why he'd joined up.He'd spent his early years being shunted around care homes – forty two of them in total - and had been bullied at school.