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Is Sherwood based on a true story?

What is the true story behind the BBC One drama starring David Morrissey?

Lesley Manville in Sherwood rushing out of her house with a shocked expression on her face
Published: Tuesday, 21st June 2022 at 12:55 pm
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In 2004, a former Nottinghamshire mining community was rocked by two grisly killings, completely separate but just a few miles apart.

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The tragedies sparked a massive manhunt involving police officers from around the country.

Now, the harrowing events have inspired a six-part BBC drama, titled Sherwood, starring David Morrissey, Lesley Manville and Robert Glenister and penned by screenwriter James Graham, who grew up in Nottinghamshire.

The series states at the beginning: “This story was initially inspired by two killings which took place in the Nottinghamshire mining community where the author grew up. For the purposes of dramatisation, the characters and the events have been fictionalised.”

But while the drama is a fictionalised account, it does draw heavily on the real-life events that ripped apart the local community.

Read on for the true story behind Sherwood.

Is Sherwood a true story?

Lesley Manville in Sherwood
Lesley Manville in Sherwood  BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Sherwood is inspired by two real manhunts that took place simultaneously in 2004 Nottingham, while also exploring the the fractured local community.

The drama is penned by James Graham, who grew up in a "red wall" town in the same area and who. has said, at a press Q&A attended by RadioTimes.com, that he wanted to "try and give voice" to his hometown in writing Sherwood.

The series focuses on the real manhunts of Robert Boyer, who had killed ex-miner Keith Frogson before fleeing to the local area's woods, and secondly Terry Rodgers, who had killed his daughter Chanel and also fled to the same woods.

The series also explores the Met's response to the incidents, too, unearthing local tensions that date back to the '80s miner strikes.

Sherwood
Protestors marching during a flashback in Sherwood BBC

Elsewhere, the six-parter delves into the Met's deployment of so-called 'spy-cops': undercover officers who weren't infiltrating terrorist organisations, but real-life communities.

David Morrissey, who plays DCS Ian St Clair in the drama, previously discussed the "outrageous" nature of these 'spy cops' during an interview with Radio Times magazine.

Asked how he thought police were represented in the drama, he said: "It’s important for me to play the individual but when they start to uncover things about 'spy cops', Ian is just as thrown as anybody else."

He added: "We’ve seen undercover operations within criminal and terrorist organisations in dramas like Line of Duty.

"But the idea that there were undercover officers inside legal organisations eavesdropping on conversations, feeding back information and sometimes having relationships with people without telling them who they really were, is outrageous. And it’s something that we need to really look at, right here, right now."

Sherwood will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Drama hub for the latest news.

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