The Sixth Commandment is a four-part BBC true crime series about Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin, two beloved and highly respected individuals who were preyed upon by PhD student and Baptist minister's son Ben Field – with fatal consequences


Sarah Phelps (A Very British Scandal, Dublin Murders, The Pale Horse), who wrote the drama, has spoken extensively about the importance of placing the victims front and centre, rather than the perpetrator.

"One thing I didn't want to do was to glamourise the killer," she said. "A lot of TV programmes give you the sense that you're falling under the spell of the killer, who's incredibly intelligent, with some grand plan, but I wanted to understand and honour the victims, to give them life and dignity. They were more than just Ben Field's victims.

"That backstory was really important for me. Peter and Ann led full, vibrant, intelligent, educated, lives full of curiosity with families, friends, social lives, their love of poetry and theatre and their devout faiths."

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The cast includes a raft of faces you'll be familiar with, plus a handful you may not recognise. Read on for your full rundown of the key individuals in The Sixth Commandment .

The Sixth Commandment cast

  • Timothy Spall as Peter Farquhar
  • Anne Reid as Ann Moore-Martin
  • Éanna Hardwicke as Ben Field
  • Conor MacNeill as Martyn Smith
  • Adrian Rawlin as Ian Farquhar
  • Amanda Root as Sue Farquhar
  • Sheila Hancock as Liz Zettl
  • Annabel Scholey as Ann-Marie Blake
  • Ben Bailey Smith as Simon Blake
  • Jonathan Aris as DCI Mark Glover
  • Anna Crilly as DS Natalie Golding
  • James Harkness as DS Richard Earl

Timothy Spall plays Peter Farquhar

Timothy Spall as Peter Farquhar in The Sixth Commandment coming soon to BBC One and iPlayer
Timothy Spall as Peter Farquhar in The Sixth Commandment. BBC

Who is Peter Farquhar? A retired teacher who was murdered by Ben Field.

"Peter Farquhar was a brilliant teacher, a Cambridge graduate who had just retired from Stowe when we first meet him and was about to take up a position as a guest lecturer at Buckingham University," said Spall. "He was obviously highly respected, much loved, had a huge influence on young people's lives and careers.

"We also discover early on that he was a very serious, devout Christian and that he found it very difficult to reconcile his repressed sexuality with his faith. Through discussions with a friend and a counsellor we discover that although he had many friends, he was quite lonely and felt deeply isolated within himself."

Where have I seen Timothy Spall before? You might have watched him in Mr Turner, The Damned United, Hatton Garden, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Harry Potter, among others.

Anne Reid plays Ann Moore-Martin

Ann reading messages written on a mirror in he home with a concerned expression on her face
Ann Moore Martin (Anne Reid). Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Ann Moore-Martin? Moore-Martin was a former headmistress and model who was targeted by Field.

"She lived on the same street as Peter Farquhar which is how she got to know Ben Field because he began living with Peter," said Reid. "Before long, Ben identified Ann as a potential victim. By that stage she'd retired and was living in a very nice little house a couple of doors away.

"This young man becomes friendly with her and she finds him very pleasant and attractive. She's also a very religious woman and Ben feigns a religious belief, so he gains her confidence and they become friends."

Where have I seen Anne Reid before? Across her extensive career, she has appeared in Jane Austen adaptation Sanditon, Sally Wainwright's Last Tango in Halifax, Dinnerladies and Coronation Street.

Éanna Hardwicke plays Ben Field

Ben wearing a white religious robe and stood in church with a stained glass window behind him
Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke). Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Ben Field? He was one of Peter's students at Buckingham University. "He comes across as mature, intellectual, a devout Christian who loves literature," said Hardwicke. "He appears funny, outgoing, affable, but he doesn't have any close friends. As the story progresses, we unpeel those layers bit by bit and begin to see what his motivations are.

"There are several but one of them is definitely financial gain; money, a house, to inherit something. But his chief motivation seems to be the thrill of doing what he's good at; it makes him feel significant, powerful, meaningful."

Where have I seen Éanna Hardwicke before? His CV includes Normal People starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, thriller Smother and Netflix's Fate: The Winx Saga.

Conor MacNeill plays Martyn Smith

martyn sat at a dining room table with a window behind him looking out onto a garden
Martyn Smith (Conor MacNeil). Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Martyn Smith? Field's friend, who was also accused of working with him to murder Farquhar and conspiring to murder Moore-Martin. He was found not guilty of all charges.

Where have I seen Conor MacNeill before? You might recognise him from investment drama Industry and police procedural No Offence.

Adrian Rawlin plays Ian Farquhar and Amanda Root plays Sue Farquhar

Ian and Sue stood next to one another in a church
Adrian Rawlin as Ian Farquhar and Amanda Root as Sue Farquhar. Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who are Ian and Amanda Farquhar? Ian is Peter's brother. He's married to Amanda. Ian was close with his brother.

Where have I seen Adrian Rawlin and Amanda Root before? Rawlin's CV includes BBC drama Baptiste and HBO's Chernobyl. Root has appeared in Summerland starring Gemma Arterton and ITV crime drama Unforgotten.

Sheila Hancock plays Liz Zettl

Liz Zettl standing in her doorway next to Martyn
Sheila Hancock as Liz Zettl. Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Liz Zettl? A friend and neighbour of Peter and Ann. "Liz is a larky 100-year-old woman," said Hancock. "One of the few parts recently where I am not senile. I was attracted to the series because it has something to say about the vulnerability of old people. We hear constantly about them being conned and neglected. I also think it is one of the most extraordinary real-life stories of a wicked crime."

Where have I seen Sheila Hancock before? You might have watched her in Unforgotten, Delicious with Dawn French and Emilia Fox and BBC One's Bedtime.

Annabel Scholey plays Anne-Marie Blake

Anne-Marie Blake looking directly into the camera
Annabel Scholey as Anne-Marie Blake. Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Anne-Marie Blake? Ann Moore-Martin's niece. "She was incredibly close to her auntie who seems to have become a bit of a mother figure," said Scholey. "There's a beautiful scene where my character even says that her aunt taught her to read and write.

"She's obviously completely devastated when her aunt falls ill and an MRI scan reveals that something isn't right. She makes it her mission to get to the bottom of this out of guilt as well as out of love and grief. She's very determined and dogged and has a very raw emotional response, which I really enjoy playing."

Where have I seen Annabel Scholey before? She has appeared in BBC One's The Split, historical fantasy Britannia and historical drama Medici.

Ben Bailey Smith plays Simon Blake

Simon Blake having a heated conversation with his wife Anne
Ben Bailey Smith as Simon Blake. Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is Simon Blake? Anne-Marie's husband.

Where have I seen Ben Bailey Smith before? You might know him from Andor on Disney Plus, The Split, Taskmaster and children's comedy-drama 4 O'Clock Club.

Jonathan Aris plays DCI Mark Glover

DCI Mark Glover standing in front of an evidence board wearing a suit
Jonathan Aris as DCI Mark Glover. Wild Mercury/Amanda Searle

Who is DCI Mark Glover? "DCI Mark Glover is brilliant and has an amazing mind," said Aris. "He's an incredibly dogged investigator and very impressive, really. He's also softly spoken and underplays his status, motivating his team by quiet encouragement and suggestion rather than throwing his weight around.

"He has a great team and, like him, they all seem to be determined and relentless, doing everything for the right reasons for the families of the victims and for the truth, not – as far as one can tell – for personal glory."

Where have I seen Jonathan Aris before? His CV includes detective series Sherlock, fantasy drama His Dark Materials, sci-fi comedy Avenue Five, dark comedy The End of the F**king World and Sky One's Lucky Man, among others.

There's also DS Natalie Golding, played by Anna Crilly (Lead Balloon), and DS Richard Earl, played by James Harkness (The Victim).

The Sixth Commandment begins on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9pm tonight (Monday 17th July). Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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