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BBC One to air new drama based on gruesome historic London murders

bbc rillington christie john
John Christie Image used with permission by copyright holder
In the 1940s and ‘50s, a series of gruesome murders took place in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London. Now, BBC One has picked up a new three-part series based on the killings called Rillington Place, reports Deadline.

John Christie, who lived in the number 10 flat of Rillington Place, was accused of murdering at least eight women over a 10-year span (including his own wife) by strangling them in the flat in which they all, at one point, lived. But not before Timothy Evans, the husband and father of two of the victims, was charged with their murders.

After Christie moved out of the home, three bodies were discovered hidden in the kitchen; and his wife’s body under floodboards in the main living area. Christie later admitted to killing Timothy’s wife Beryl and was eventually hanged for the murders, though he never admitted to the murder of his daughter, Geraldine.  Sadly, Christie’s conviction came too late: Evans had already been hanged for the murders, though he was granted a posthumous pardon 16 years later.

The case became part of a historical turning point, as it had a role in the abolishment of capital punishment in Britain.

With all of the hoopla surrounding the Steven Avery case thanks to Netflix’s documentary series Making a Murderer, wrongful convictions are hot on the minds of viewers, making this an ideal time for such a series. In Avery’s case (spoiler alert) he spent much of his life in jail for a crime he did not commit, and is currently back in jail, potentially for another crime he did not commit. Sadly, the outcome for Evans was far more tragic.

But the similarities between the two cases are striking, as many blame incompetent police work, and mishandling of evidence as the causes for Evans’ wrongful conviction. At one point, Evans even allegedly admitted to killing his wife, though later reports suggest that police may have fabricated the confession. Evans eventually withdrew the confession, just as Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey did in that case.

This isn’t the first time the gruesome U.K. murders were televised: a film called 10 Rillington Place was made in 1971, and starred Richard Attenborough as Christie, along with John Hurt and Judy Geeson.

Filming for Rillington Place, which will look at the situation from the viewpoints of Christie, Evans, and Ethel, Christie’s wife, will begin at the end of March. The script will be written by Ed Whitmore (He Kills Coppers) and Tracey Malone (Born to Kill). It is being produced by BBC Drama Production in association with Bandit Television, part of Endemol Shine Group. Actors have not yet been cast.

Currently, 36 countries around the world still practice capital punishment. In the U.S., capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is legal in 31 states.

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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