Keeley Hawes stars in an upcoming ITV factual drama that focuses on the real-life ‘honour killing’ of Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old Iraqi Kurdish woman who was murdered on the orders of her family after she left an abusive marriage for another man.
Banaz, whose family members believed that she had shamed them through her actions, had already gone to the police prior to her death, after learning that her uncle planned to have her killed – but the police officer who interviewed her didn’t believe her.
The two-part autumn drama will focus on the police investigation, and the revelations about police failings in the run-up to Banaz’s death in 2006.
Hawes (Bodyguard) will star as Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode, the real-life officer who was given the Queen’s Police Medal for her investigation into the missing 20-year-old.
Speaking to press including RadioTimes.com, Hawes (who is also producing the series) said that she felt a “huge responsibility” in ensuring their retelling of the case was respectful.
Read on for everything you need to know about Honour.
When is Honour on TV?
Honour will be stripped over two nights on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th September 2020 at 9pm on ITV.
Filming began in September 2019, and the drama was originally expected to air in late April 2020.
What is ITV’s Honour about?
The two-part series is written by Vanity Fair’s Gwyneth Hughes, and follows the investigation that took place after 20-year-old Londoner Banaz Mahmod was killed, her murder arranged by her father and uncle after she left her abusive husband and fell in love with another man.
DCI Goode swore to bring the killers to justice, a pledge that “quickly became personally consuming,” according to ITV.
Hawes – who is executive producing the series with her new company Buddy Club – said: “It is a privilege to be working on Honour…in a time when honour killings are still rife, it is critical to shine a light on such an important subject. Banaz Mahmod’s story, and DCI Goode’s subsequent investigation, is certainly one that needs to be told and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Who is in the cast of Honour?
Following a recent string of hit dramas, including Bodyguard, The Durrells, and Summer of Rockets, Keeley Hawes stars as Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode in the Honour cast, who led the investigation into Banaz Mahmod’s murder.
Banaz Mahmod is played by newcomer Buket Komur, while Banaz’s lover Rahmat Sulemani is played by Moe Bar-El (Tehran).
Mohamad Marid Hama, one of her three killers, is played by Carnival Row actor Waj Ali.
Why has ITV’s Honour faced backlash?
Banaz’s sister Pyazee previously spoke out against Gwyneth Hughes’ script, stating that by choosing to focus on DCI Goode’s story, the drama proves problematic and fails to “honour” Banaz.
“It doesn’t really sit too well with me that that’s the angle they chose to go with because that’s not Banaz’s story, that’s somebody else’s story,” Payzee told the BBC last year.
“This is about somebody who lost her life very tragically and it’s not about somebody getting to tell their story. I don’t believe that it’s honouring Banaz.”
Scriptwriter Vinay Patel has also criticised the focus on Goode, stating on Twitter: “The framing on this makes me deeply uneasy, especially since the police did not take Banaz seriously when she came to them for help weeks before her murder.”
I have masses of respect for Gwyneth Hughes, she's a terrific writer. Just the framing on this makes me deeply uneasy, especially since the police did not take Banaz seriously when she came to them for help weeks before her murder:https://t.co/66ZwqNyThm
— Vinay Patel (@VinayPatel) June 24, 2019
However, Payzee Mahmod has since watched the ITV drama, and exclusively told RadioTimes.com in September 2020 that she is “not focusing so much on the angle [from which] the story is told”, but on the conversations about honour based abuse that the show will hopefully raise.
“I believe it’s absolutely crucial to raise awareness on honour based abuse and openly talk about it, [and] this drama will hopefully do that,” she said, before continuing, “I think being the sister of Banaz and feeling, even after 14 years, immense pain for the way my sister’s life ended and how she was let down by the police and so many others, I feel no matter who tells her story or how it’s told, it will always be painful to hear, because in a dream world Banaz would be telling her own story.
“Because of what I have dedicated my life to, campaigning and raising awareness on these issues, I am not focusing so much on the angle [from which] the story is told; what I can comfortably say is that I am pleased the conversation is being had, and that no matter who speaks about it, for me and those who loved Banaz, this conversation will always hurt.”
Honour airs on ITV this September. Contact IKWRO Women’s Rights Organisation for more information about Honour Based Abuse.
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