It’s Official: ITV Orders Christopher Jefferies Drama ‘The Lost Honour’

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Last week, TVWise broke the news that ITV had commissioned Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films two produce a 2 x 90 minute drama about Christopher Jefferies, Jo Yeates’ landlord who was falsely accused of her murder. In that same report, we revealed that Trollied star Jason Watkins had been cast as Jefferies in the drama, which was penned by Peter Morgan and was being directed by Roger Michell. TVWise also subsequently reported that Broadchurch alum Joe Sims had landed a role on the drama. ITV confirmed all that today by formally announcing the project, which just recently entered production in Bristol. In addition, ITV has also announced that the cast also includes Peter Polycarpou (Family Tree) as Louis Charalambous and Shaun Parkes (Da Vinci’s Demons) as Paul Okebu, Jefferies’ legal team. ITV’s press release follows below…

The Lost Honour

The story of Christopher Jefferies’ struggle to clear his name.

Written by Peter Morgan, directed by Roger Michell & produced by Kevin Loader.

Golden Globe and Bafta winning writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland), Bafta winning director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park on Hudson, Le Week-End,) and double Bafta Award nominee Kevin Loader (Hyde Park on Hudson, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Nowhere Boy) have joined forces to deliver a compelling, original two-part drama produced by Carnival Films for ITV.

Principal Photography commenced on 4th November at various locations around Bristol and at the Bottle Yard studios.

The Lost Honour is based on the true story of Christopher Jefferies, a retired schoolmaster who was arrested when his tenant, 25-year-old landscape architect Joanna Yeates, was found murdered on Christmas Day in 2010. While in police custody, Jefferies became the most familiar face in Britain.

This powerful drama begins the day before Yeates’ disappearance, and follows the innocent Jefferies through his arrest, release and subsequent isolation as his un-sought fame profoundly affected his life.  On January 20th the real killer, neighbour Vincent Tabak, was finally arrested.

Christopher Jefferies will be played by Jason Watkins (Being Human, Psychoville, Little Dorrit). The cast also includes Peter Polycarpou as Louis Charalambous and Shaun Parkes as Paul Okebu, Jefferies’ legal team.

Director Roger Michell who followed the case intently at the time said, “Peter Morgan has written a vivid and ultimately uplifting account of a man who was wrongly accused and found himself at the centre of a media storm. It’s a story that celebrates our right to be eccentric, and it also, as it happens, is the story of a rather brilliant man who was once my English teacher!”

Writer, Peter Morgan says, “No one will ever forget the man with the eccentric hair who became so connected with the murder of Joanna Yeates. I want to make sure that no one forgets the same man who was acquitted, and who fought back to clear his name, and became a very British kind of hero.”

The Lost Honour is headed up by an award winning production team lead by one of the UK’s leading drama producers, Golden Globe and Emmy winning Executive Producer Gareth Neame, (Downton Abbey, The Worricker Trilogy, The Hollow Crown).

“Peter Morgan tells stories that deal with significant state-of-the-nation issues,’ says Neame, ‘often through the involvement of a single individual.  We are thrilled to see Christopher Jefferies’ extraordinary story brought to life by a tip-top combination of Peter Morgan, Roger Michell and Kevin Loader and we can already see from rehearsals that Jason Watkins will brilliantly bring the character of Jefferies to our screens.”

The Lost Honour has been commissioned for ITV by Steve November, Director of Drama and Charlie Hampton, Commissioning Editor.

Carnival Films is part of NBCUniversal International Television Production.