Michelle Fairley, Tom Burke and Stephen Campbell Moore lead the cast.
“Responsible Child raises one of the most complex and challenging questions of our time. Nick and Sean’s extraordinary film explores the age of criminal responsibility in England and takes us to the heart of the legal question: in the most severe of cases, ‘should a child be tried as an adult or child?’ We are hugely indebted to them for the sensitive, nuanced and empathetic approach to telling this harrowing true story on BBC Two.” – Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama
Based on real events Responsible Child is a feature-length drama about England’s minimum age of criminal responsibility. Written by Skins creative Sean Buckley the drama takes us inside a young boy’s experience of the legal system, asking powerful questions about responsibility and redemption.
A feature-length drama about England’s minimum age of criminal responsibility.
The 90-minute production follows the story of Ray; a 12-year-old boy on trial for murder. 12-year-old Billy Barratt takes the titular role and is joined by Michelle Fairley, Tom Burke and Stephen Campbell Moore.
Also starring is Owen McDonnell, Shaun Dingwall, Debbie Honeywood, Angela Wynter and James Tarpey. Told in two time frames, Responsible Child follows both the events that led up to the murder and the unfolding drama of the trial.
Ray (Barratt) and his 23-year-old brother Nathan (Tarpey) are arrested after stabbing their mother’s partner. Whatever the circumstances that have led a child to kill, the law is clear: the age of criminal responsibility is 10, and at 12 years-old, Ray must stand trial in adult court.
The one-off programme is produced for BBC Two by Kudos and 72 Films.
“Whilst making The Murder Trial I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder. It’s an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. Ten is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I’m delighted to be working with Kudos and the BBC.” – Director Nick Holt