The BBC has revealed its first look of Stephen Merchant as real-life serial killer Stephen Port in upcoming drama The Barking Murders – and his vacant glare couldn’t be creepier.
Although the three-part series is set to focus on the family of Port’s victims, Merchant will portray the man who killed four men and committed multiple rapes.
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Often known as ‘The Grindr Killer’, Port – who lived in Barking, London – was given a life sentence in 2016 for the murders of Anthony Walgate, Jack Taylor, Daniel Whitworth and Gabriel Kovari alongside a string of sexual offences against seven living victims.
Rather than just focus on Port, however, the drama 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,” according to the BBC.
Speaking previously about his casting, Merchant said: “This is a story that can’t be ignored – how four young lives were lost and their families’ brave attempt to uncover what happened. This factual drama will shed light on their story.”
The show – from Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, the team behind Shannon Matthews drama The Moorside – will also see Sheridan Smith playing Sarah Sak, the mother of Port’s first victim Anthony Walgate. Jaime Winstone, who starred in Babs, will play Donna Taylor, the sister of victim Jack Taylor.
Filming for The Barking Murders takes place this Spring, with an air date yet to be announced.
In 2016, BBC3 released a documentary about the investigation into Stephen Port. Watch the film below.