BBC3’s powerful new drama Murdered for Being Different tells the story of the killing of Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old woman attacked in a park in Lancashire just for the way she looked.
The film stars Abigail Lawrie as Sophie, with Sophie’s boyfriend Robert Maltby played by Nico Mirallegro. Find out more about the two young stars and the rest of the cast here.
Sophie Lancaster (played by Abigail Lawrie)
In 2007, 20-year-old Sophie and her boyfriend Robert were the victims of a vicious attack by a gang of kids, just because they were Goths. Sophie never regained consciousness. Her story now is the central part of BBC3’s ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ season, “a platform to proudly celebrate individuality within the UK”
Abigail Lawrie made her TV debut in the BBC1 adaptation of JK Rowling’s novel The Casual Vacancy, playing troubled teenager Krystal Weedon. She’s also featured in Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star alongside Tim Roth, and in World War II thriller HHhH.
Robert Maltby (played by Nico Mirallegro)
Sophie’s boyfriend Rob was in a coma for a week following the attack. He survived, but his life would never be the same. Murdered For Being Different is told through his point of view, after writer Nick Leather talked to him and Sophie’s family in order to develop the story.
“A few months after sitting down with Rob, his mum Tracey and Sophie’s mum Sylvia and asking for their recollections, we handed them a script and waited for their reactions,” Leather said.
“Their response was overwhelming. Rob said he felt like something positive had finally come out of something so utterly negative, and those words really struck me.”
Nico Mirallegro made his name as Barry ‘Newt’ Newton in Hollyoaks between 2007 and 2010, before going on to star in E4’s My Mad Fat Diary. Earlier this year he featured in BBC1’s bleak true crime drama Rillington Place as Timothy Evans, the man falsely accused of murderer John Christie’s horrific crimes.
DC Steph Farley (played by Chanel Cresswell)
Steph Farley is the officer tasked with investigating Sophie’s murder, and attempting to draw out a statement from a key witness.
Chanel Cresswell won a Bafta for best supporting actress for her role in This is England ’90, the final instalment of the This is England film and TV series. She also starred in Sky 1’s sitcom Trollied, and featured in BBC1’s daytime legal drama The Case.
Michael Gorman (played by Reiss Jarvis)
Michael Gorman is the first to call an ambulance after the attack, but he is at first too terrified to come forward to tell police what he witness. This character is fictionalised, an amalgam of real-life figures and based on Leather’s research into the investigation
This is Reiss Jarvis’s first major TV role.
Murdered for Being Different is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now