Stephen Merchant and Sheridan Smith will star in new BBC One drama The Barking Murders (w/t), which is due to commence filming this spring.
Here’s everything you need to know…
When is The Barking Murders on TV?
Three-part BBC1 drama The Barking Murders will begin filming in spring 2019. An air date has yet to be announced.
What is The Barking Murders about?
The Taylor family give a statement outside the Central Criminal Court after the Stephen Port trial (Getty)
The factual drama is based on the true story of serial rapist and killer Stephen Port, but will tell the story from the point of view of the families of his victims, “focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons and brothers in the face of a now widely criticised police investigation.”
Also dubbed “The Grindr Killer”, Port – who lived in Barking, London – received a life sentence with a whole life order in November 2016. He was convicted of the assaults by penetration, rapes and murders of four young men in their 20s: Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor.
The drama comes from Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, who previously worked together on The Moorside, telling the story of the community impacted by the disappearance of Shannon Matthews. They also teamed up for Appropriate Adult, which looked at the story of serial killer Fred West from the point of view of trainee social worker Janet Leach.
The director is David Blair (Care, Reg).
Writer Neil McKay said: “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.”
Jeff Pope, Executive Producer, ITV Studios, said: “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.”
Who has been cast in The Barking Murders?
Stephen Merchant leads the cast as killer Stephen Port, alongside Sheridan Smith as murder victim Anthony Walgate’s mother, Sarah Sak.
As a writer and actor, Merchant is known for his roles in Extras and The Office; he also recently played Caliban in the film Logan. Smith is known for her theatre work in productions of Funny Girl and Legally Blonde as well as TV projects including Cilla, The C Word, The Royle Family, and Gavin & Stacey.
Jaime Winstone, who starred in Babs, will play Donna Taylor – the sister of victim Jack Taylor.
Further cast includes Stan & Ollie actor Rufus Jones, Stephanie Hyam (Chanel from Bodyguard), Line of Duty’s Leanne Best, Sheridan Smith’s Cleaning Up co-star Robert Emms, and Dirk Gently actor Samuel Barnett.
On being cast as Sarah, Smith said: “I love playing real life characters – especially an inspirational woman like Sarah Sak – but with it comes responsibility. Along with the other families, Sarah went through so much heartache and it would have been easy for her to just accept what she was being told by the police, but something inside made her keep fighting for her son.”