Sherlock star Martin Freeman is to appear in a BBC2 film about the trial of one of the Second World War’s most notorious figures.
The actor will play TV producer Milton Fruchtman in 90-minute drama The Eichmann Show about the broadcast of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, chief architect of the Nazis’ “final solution” plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews.
The film will also feature Anthony LaPaglia, star of US television series Without a Trace, as the TV director Leo Hurwitz.
Eichmann was captured by Israeli secret agents in Buenos Aires and transported to Israel in 1960 where he was tried a year later. He was hanged in 1962.
His trial was broadcast to 37 countries over four months and marked the first global TV event, shocking the world with its first-hand testimonies from survivors recounting the evils of the death camps. An estimated 80% of the German population watched at least one hour a week with some reported to have fainted when they saw it.
The Eichmann Show will be the centerpiece of a series of BBC1 and BBC2 programmes marking next year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
These include five short films on BBC2’s Learning Zone which will offer additional context to the Eichmann trial and will be linked to the school curriculum. There will also be a repeat showing of the epic 1985 documentary Shoah – the Hebrew word for the Holocaust – which offered first-hand accounts of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis.
A Story of Rememberance will see three women tell their tales. Also shown on 27th January, the 90-minute documentary will feature Kitty Hart-Moxon discussing the post-war struggle to talk about her suffering, author Judith Kerr on her childhood escape from Nazi Germany and Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner learning the fate of her ancestors.
The commemoration will also see a repeat of the animation Children of the Holocaust, aimed at younger viewers and based on eyewitness accounts, and Holocaust: Freddie Knoller’s War in which the 93-year-old Holocaust survivor tells his extraordinary story.
BBC Director of Television Danny Cohen said: “The liberation of the camps is a very significant anniversary which the BBC will mark with a range of thought-provoking programmes.”