Friday 23 February 2018

BBC commissions shows about serial killer Stephen Port and Grenfell Tower

There will also be a new documentary about the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The Grenfell Tower fire
The Grenfell Tower fire

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

A new drama about the victims of serial killer Stephen Port will focus on their families’ fight to uncover what happened, the BBC has announced.

Port was found guilty last year of murdering four young men by poisoning them with lethal doses of a date rape drug.

The Barking Murders, which is a working title, will be a three-part factual drama from Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the team behind The Moorside and Appropriate Adult.

The BBC logo at Broadcasting House (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Writer McKay told the Edinburgh International Television Festival: “Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way.

“This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice. It is a privilege to be able to tell it.”

Pope, executive producer at ITV Studios, added: “I think this is an opportunity to say something about how we don’t always have to accept what we are told by those in authority, and how determination, sheer bloody-mindedness and – above all else – love, will always triumph.”

BBC One also announced two new dramas set in Scotland – psychological drama The Cry, adapted from the Helen FitzGerald novel which chronicles the collapse of a marriage in the aftermath of a tragedy and explores the myths and truths of motherhood, and The Victim, a contemporary legal thriller told through the eyes of the plaintiff and the accused.

Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland Director, said: “We’ve been very public about trying to boost our drama output as part of our strategy of providing programmes that are more relevant for audiences in Scotland – but which can also be enjoyed as compelling stories no matter where you live.”

The BBC also announced new documentaries about the Grenfell Tower fire and the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Alison Kirkham, head of factual commissioning, told the festival: “They become moments we all remember where we were and see history through those points in time.

“With both of those documentaries, incredibly important moments in time, we are really proud. They are complicated and ambitious.”

Kirkham also unveiled the footage from Blue Planet II and trumpeted the success of Planet Earth II earlier this year.

Sir David Attenborough

An episode of Sir David Attenborough’s hit nature show did better with the important 16-34 demographic than The X Factor final, she said.

The channel also showed off footage from new game show The Button, which will see five families complete five challenges in one day.

Press Association

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