Actress Emilia Fox and criminologist Professor David Wilson have teamed up to reinvestigate three, real-life unsolved cases in their new Channel 4 docuseries.
Together, the Silent Witness star and expert will attempt to solve these cold cases, using forensic science and criminological research to unearth new clues and suspects.
The three-part documentary will include the famous disappearance of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who went missing back in July 1986 after scheduling an appointment in her work diary.
For everything you need to know about the Channel 4 series, including when you can expect it to air, read on.
In the Footsteps of Killers release date
In the Footsteps of Killers will air on Channel 4 on Wednesday, 9th June.
It will feature three one-hour episodes, with the first looking at the case of 13-year-old David Spencer and 11-year-old Patrick Warren who went missing in Birmingham on Boxing Day in 1996.
No one has been charged to this day and their bodies have never been found, despite two major police investigations and a missing persons campaign that featured the boys’ pictures on milk cartons.
In the one-hour episode, titled The Milk Carton Kids, Emilia and David discover new evidence leading to a prime suspect.
What is In the Footsteps of Killers about?
In the Footsteps of Killers is a three part series in which Silent Witness star Emilia Fox and criminologist David Wilson reopen a cold case in each episode.
Filmed like a drama, the programme makers have used the latest in forensic science and criminological research to re-examine troubling cold cases, and the cameras follow Emilia and David as they travel to the scenes of each crime, where they interview witnesses, suspects and friends and family of the victims while trying to discover what really happened.
Fox and Wilson also walk in the steps of the killers, seeing the crimes from both the victims’ and the murderers’ perspectives, and the series catches the ups and downs of their investigations, the set backs and the breakthroughs on their way to revealing who the killer or killers may be.
In the Footsteps of Killers presenters
In the Footsteps of Killers is presented by actress Emilia Fox and Professor David Wilson.
Emilia Fox is best known as forensic pathologist Dr Nikki Alexander in the BBC crime series Silent Witness, a role she has played for 17 years.
Equally at home on stage as on screen, Emilia first appeared on TV as Mr Darcy’s sister in the 1995 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice, and also appeared in TV’s Merlin and The Trial of Christine Keeler, movies including The Pianist and this year’s Blithe Spirit remake, and theatre productions including The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1996 production of The Cherry Orchard and as Virgilia in the Almeida Theatre’s 2000 production of Coriolanus.
The 46-year-old actress is part of the Fox acting dynasty – her mother is actress Joanna David, her father is actor Edward Fox and her younger brother is The Pursuit of Love’s Freddie Fox, while Laurence Fox is her cousin.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Emilia Fox explained that she often seeks out expert advice for her role in Silent Witness, making her the perfect person to join Professor Wilson’s investigations for In the Footsteps of Killers. “I’ve actually been to a couple of post-mortems. It was helpful to see how the pathologist and police collaborate,” she said. “I understand why the show [Silent Witness] is so fascinating to viewers because the clues are all within the body, and going through the process of an autopsy is the path to finding a cause and manner of death.”
Professor David Wilson is a Scottish professor of criminology at Birmingham City University. A former prison governor, he has advised various police forces on crimes, including the 2006 Ipswich serial murder case, which he co-authored a book about.
Wilson has presented the TV series The Crime Squad for BBC One, as well as Killers Behind Bars: The Untold Story on Channel 5 and Interview With a Murderer on Channel 4, about the murder of Carl Bridgewater.
“This series is going to take true crime in a different direction by using new criminological techniques to shine a light on unsolved cases which have for too long remained in the dark,” he said. “Our goal in every episode is to get justice for the victims and I sincerely believe that is possible.”
Which cold cases will feature In the Footsteps of Killers?
The three episodes are titled The Disappearance of the Milk Carton Kids, The Disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh and The Murder of Rita Ellis.
The Disappearance of the Milk Carton Kids
Friends Patrick Warren, 11, and David Spencer, 13, went missing from their estate in Solihull, West Midlands on December 26th, 1996, and have not been seen since. Initially treated by the police as runaways, the boys were last seen at midnight on Boxing Day by a petrol station attendant who gave them some biscuits. Despite two Crimewatch appeals, and their faces being printed on milk cartons, no one has been arrested for their abduction and the case remains unsolved.
The Disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh
The Suzy Lamplugh case is the most famous of the three that Wilson and Fox investigate. Estate agent Suzy was 25 years old when she disappeared after showing a client around a house in Fulham, London. Her body has never been found, but there is a prime suspect – John Cannan, who is currently in jail for murder – and during the episode Emilia seeks a meeting with him.
The Murder of Rita Ellis
Nineteen-year-old RAF servicewoman Rita Willis’s body was found in a woodland copse near RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire in November 1967. An autopsy revealed she had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled. Her brutal murder has never been solved, despite the recent availability of the full DNA of the killer, which was tested against nearly 200 men with no matches back in 2017.
In the Footsteps of Killers trailer
There isn’t a trailer as yet, but check back as we will update this page when one is available to watch.