Actor Jason Watkins’ BAFTA Award-winning performance in 2014’s The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies had a deep emotional impact with the viewing audience all over again.
The feature-length drama dramatised the month after retired schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies was arrested on suspicion of murdering one of the tenants, Joanna Yeates, in the flats he owned in Bristol. He was harassed and demonised by the tabloid press, but later released without charge.
Another of his tenants, Dutch engineer Vincent Tabak, was later convicted of Yeates’ murder.
Viewers were delighted that ITV was repeating the drama on Monday and Tuesday nights. Jason Watkins’ “phenomenal” performance in particular drew applause.
So happy that they’re showing The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies again. Remember watching it when it aired, the performance from Jason Watkins is absolutely phenomenal. Enjoying it just as much second time around.
— Lauren Herrick (@laurenherrick) August 17, 2020
Superlatives abounded about Watkins’ portrayal of Jefferies, with this poster writing that he gave “one of the most flawless performances in a drama of the past 15/20 years”.
Jason Watkins is outstanding as Christopher Jefferies, giving one of the most flawless performances in a drama of the past 15/20 years ???? I said what I said..#TheLostHonourOfChristopherJefferies #JoYeates
— ✨✌️Inscarll (@Inscarll) August 17, 2020
Most on social media commented on the travesty of his arrest and the “appalling” treatment he received.
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies is a fantastic drama – @Jason__Watkins gives an extraordinary and sensitive performance. I studied in #Bristol for five years and remember when the real events unfurled. #ChristopherJefferies, an innocent man, was treated appallingly
— ???????????????????????????? ????????????????????????-???????????????????????????????? (@flaneuse___) August 17, 2020
Jefferies himself told Radio Times that he felt dispassionate watching Watkins play him.
“Although I appear played by a character who looks remarkably like me, or who was made up to look remarkably like me, probably what comes across – but obviously I am not the best person to judge – is that this is somebody who represents or caricatures certain aspects of me, exaggerated and separated, as it were, from the whole, in order to make the point [writer] Peter Morgan wanted to make.”
Another viewer tweeted: “The papers crucified Christopher Jefferies at the time, because he chose to be different.”
I totally agree with everything that' s been said about Jason Watkins performance being sublime . The papers crucified Christopher Jefferies at the time, because he chose to be different. This is a must watch programme.
— Heather Shanks Dennis (@HeatherShanksD1) August 17, 2020
There were some for whom the story had a personal connection.
Watching ITV's The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. Brings back memories of events in Clifton a decade ago. I knew Chris and was astounded that anyone could think him a murderer. An innocent man treated terribly by the police and the tabloids.
— Stephen Williams ???? (@StephenRW01) August 17, 2020
Many people on Twitter commented about how they, too, were guilty in judging Jefferies, based solely on the way he looked and the life he led.
The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies is on. The moment I saw him, at the time of Jo Yeates murder, I was adamant he did it. I hate myself for it. The poor man went to hell and back … and all that time he was innocent.
— Farrah (@Farrah_000) August 17, 2020
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was written by Peter Morgan – the creator of The Crown, Frost/Nixon and The Queen – and it won BAFTA TV Awards for Best Mini-series and Best Actor at the 2015 ceremony.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.