BBC One Orders Stephen Port Drama ‘The Barking Murders’, Pair Of Scotland-Set Dramas ‘The Victim’ & ‘The Cry’

More news out of the Edinburgh International TV Festival. BBC Director of Content Charlotte Moore, during her Meet The Controller session, announced a trio of new drama commissions for BBC One.

The corporation’s flagship channel has ordered three part drama The Barking Murders, a factual drama from Jeff Pope that explores the crimes of Stephen Port from the point of view of the families of his victims; and a pair of new drama that will be set and shot in Scotland – The Victim and The Cry.

The latter two commissions stem from the BBC’s pledge to produce more content in the nations and both will be produced by Scottish production companies. They are also part of BBC Scotland’s commitment to produce distinctive and reflective Scottish output, complementing productions filmed in Scotland such as Trust Me, Shetland, Ordeal By Innocence, Still Game and Two Doors Down.

“We’ve been very public about trying to boost our drama output as part of our strategy of providing programmes that are more relevant for audiences in Scotland – but which can also be enjoyed as compelling stories no matter where you live”, said Donalda MacKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland.

While Elizabeth Kilgarriff, BBC Senior Commissioning Editor for England & Scotland, added: “It is exciting to be able to showcase our ambition for BBC Scotland Drama with these two very different but equally brilliant shows. Original, distinctive and gripping, both The Victim and The Cry are beautifully written pieces with huge emotional heart and universal appeal”.

The Barking Murders aims to 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.

The three-part factual drama hails from ITV Studios Head of Factual Drama Jeff Pope and Neil McKay – the award-winning team behind The Moorside and Appropriate Adult. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger and will be produced by ITV Studios. Ken Horn is the series producer. The executive producers are Jeff Pope, Neil McKay and Lucy Richer.

“Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way”. said writer and executive producer Neil McKay. “This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice. It is a privilege to be able to tell it.”

The Victim is a legal thriller set in Edinburgh that is told through the eyes of both the plaintiff and the accused. On one side is Carl, a hard working family man from Dundee, who is the victim of a random, unprovoked attack, after being identified online as a notorious child murderer living under a new identity. On the other is Anna, the mother of a teenage boy who was murdered twenty years ago by a then fourteen-year old boy. Having campaigned to be told of the killer’s new identity and whereabouts, she is then accused of revealing his identity online and conspiring to have him murdered. Played out through the lens of one criminal trial, moral dilemmas will be thrown up and sides will be taken in these two very different quests for justice.

The four-part drama is being penned by Rob Williams and is being produced by STV Productions. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore and the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger. The executive producers are Sarah Brown and Rob Williams for STV Productions, and Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC. Casting is set to be announced in the coming months. Production is expected to get underway in Scotland in early 2018.

The Cry chronicles the collapse of a marriage in the aftermath of a tragedy, and explores the myths and truths of motherhood.  The abduction of a baby from a small coastal town in Australia is the catalyst for a journey into the disintegrating psychology of a young woman – Joanna – as she and her husband, Alistair, deal with an unthinkable tragedy under both the white light of public scrutiny and in their private lives.

The four-part drama is based on the novel of the same name by Helen FitzGerald and was adapted for television by Jacquelin Perske. The Cry marks the first television commission for Scottish-based production company Synchronicity Films. Brian Kaczynski is the series producer, while Claire Mundell, Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes will executive produce. Production is set to get underway in Scotland and Australia next year. DRG will handle global distribution.