ITV has ordered new two-part drama Code Of A Killer about the true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective David Baker, which has Shameless star David Threlfall attached to star.
The two-parter follows Detective David Baker (David Threlfall) who in 1984 headed up an investigation into the brutal murders of two Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. Only three miles away, Alec Jeffreys was a young scientist who had unlocked a remarkable technique to read each individual’s unique DNA fingerprint. Certain the murderer was local, Baker approached Jeffreys to use his new science as a way to solve the murders. What followed was the first ever DNA manhunt, and the blood testing of over five thousand men before the killer was caught.
Code Of A Killer was written by Kidnap & Ransom scribe Michael Crompton and was developed with input from retired professor Sir Alec Jeffreys and former Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker. World Productions – the indie behind BBC Two’s Line of Duty – is producing the two-parter. The executive producer is Simon Heath, World Productions’ creative director. Priscilla Parish is set to produce, while Broadchurch and Gracepoint helmer James Strong is attached to direct. Casting for the remaining roles is currently underway, with production set to commence in September.
“Code of a Killer is a gripping real life story which uncovers how DNA fingerprinting was discovered and helped the police crack a particularly difficult murder investigation”, said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the two-parter alongside ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “It’s a story that devastated the families of the two young schoolgirls and will be handled sensitively and respectfully by World Productions.”
This is the second scripted drama to get the green-light from ITV this past week. On Wednesday, the commercial broadcaster confirmed that they had commissioned Buffalo Pictures to produce a three-parter starring Martin Clunes about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mission to clear the name of George Edalji. Both dramas were initially announced by ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham at a Broadcasting Press Guild event on Tuesday.