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The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech review: Chilling documentary prompts more questions than answers

The BBC Two documentary will have you questioning Beech's motives after his false sexual abuse allegations, writes Grace Henry.

Carl Beech
Published: Monday, 24th August 2020 at 7:11 pm

Why did he do it? What went wrong? And just how did he manage to keep up this story for all those years? These are just some of the questions you'll find yourself asking when watching The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech.


Directed by Vanessa Engle, The BBC2 film looks at the false sexual abuse allegations, which former nurse Beech targeted at prominent British figures in 2014 - and the suffering it caused - after Scotland Yard launched Operation Midland.

The documentary starts by introducing viewers to Beech's initial claims that he was the victim of paedophilic actions by 12 people, including his stepfather, Jimmy Savile and politicians, he called "The Group".

The story ends years later however in 2019, with Beech being sentenced to 18 years in prison for perverting the course of justice, fraud and possessing pornographic images of children.

Watching the story unfold in this way, you'd never imagine the events would turn out like this.

We're taken back to Beech's life before the false claims, and look at what seemed to be a fairly normal existence.

He worked as a nurse, had been happily married for many years before being divorced and lived with his son.

Throughout the film, fragments of information are woven into the story, and his claims are built up using past recordings from Beech's actual interviews.

Coming just two years after Operation Yewtree - the a police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against the British media personality Jimmy Savile and others - it seems the nurse's claims were immediately taken on board.

Despite the bold claims he made, almost everything Beech said was taken at face value, regardless of the effect it could have on others.

It's not until 2016, however, when Lord Bramall stepped up and decided to clear his name, four whole years after Beech's first claim against his stepfather in 2012.

Carl Beech
Carl Beech BBC

The police began to look into Beech's allegations more closely, and everything began to unravel.

The authorities stated that he was a threat to children after finding indecent images on his laptop, while also finding Beech had Google-researched the locations he'd claimed to be abused at, and he'd previously accessed articles on how Jimmy Saville's victims could apply for compensation.

As well as this, Fred, who was the "other" victim Beech said he'd been trying to reach out to, was fake and it was revealed that Beech was behind Fred's email account all along.

Beech had even hired a private investigator to check his step-father wasn't alive before making the false allegations against him.

If this alone doesn't leave you gobsmacked, you'll be moved as the tables turn in the documentary and we’re made to look at the previously accused, and now-victims of Beech.

Carl Beech
Beech was sentenced to 18 years in prison BBC

In a touching scene, Beech's step-sister refuses to show her face as she questions how they will move on from this. Despite her late father's name being cleared, the pain has clearly been caused, and it's devastating to see.

If only these steps had been made from the beginning, none of Beech's claims would ever have come to fruition, and so many lives wouldn't have been ruined in the process.

Carl Beech
Carl Beech CPS

Instead the documentary shows how the years of lies led to a £2 million investigation, and resulted in many being tarred with an extremely, cruel brush.

It looks at how Beech's boy-cried-wolf claims take away from so many other victims of child abuse and undermines their journey.

What it doesn't do, however, is nail down one, solid motive for Beech.

Although it alludes to money and fame as a possible reason behind Beech's claims, as his allegations seemed to get worse with the public reaction, this doesn't really add up, not for Beech anyway - a middle class, white man with a decent job.

It seems odd that he would have taken such a big risk, when he only received a £22k payout from compensation.

So, why then did he do it? - It's a question that remains unanswered, even in The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech.


The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech airs on BBC Two at 9pm on Monday 24th August. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide


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