Merchant and Smith will lead the cast of The Barking Murders for BBC One.

“‘I love playing real life characters – especially an inspirational woman like Sarah Sak – but with it comes responsibility. Along with the other families, Sarah went through so much heartache and it would have been easy for her to just accept what she was being told by the police, but something inside made her keep fighting for her son.” – Sheridan Smith

Jeff Pope and Neil McKay worked together on The Moorside, which told the story of the community impacted by the disappearance of Shannon Matthews, and Appropriate Adult, which looked at the story of serial killer Fred West from the point of view of trainee social worker Janet Leach. They have a reputation for factual drama based on detailed research that focuses not on the crime itself but those affected by the events, whose perspective gives a fresh eye on these important news stories.

Stephen Merchant and Sheridan Smith will star in their BBC One drama The Barking Murders , which is due to commence filming this spring. This new factual drama will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on this story by telling it from the point of view of the families of Stephen Port’s 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.

“The Stephen Port murders have shone a light not just on the life of one deeply disturbed individual but into the plight of the four innocent young gay men who fell foul of him. Jeff and Neil will go behind the headlines to tell the story from a fresh perspective considering the impact of these crimes rather than the crimes themselves and will explore the challenges the police faced in identifying the serial nature of the killings. We are thrilled with the cast which has been assembled to tell this story and look forward to bringing this difficult but very timely story to BBC One.” – Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama

Merchant will play Stephen Port, and Smith will play Sarah Sak, the mother of Anthony Walgate. Also joining the cast is Jaime Winstone as Donna Taylor, one of the sisters of Jack Taylor.

Written by Neil McKay, the three-part drama will air in hour long slots and tells the story of four victims of Stephen Port: Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor and their families and friends who worked tirelessly to find out what happened to them. Stephen Port received a life sentence with a whole life order in November 2016.

“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, so it’s a privilege to be a part of telling it with the brilliant combination of Jeff Pope, Neil McKay and the BBC.” – Stephen Merchant

Share Button