TV & Film
Manchester man named as main suspect in Netflix’s eerie new true crime series
Sophie’s murderer was never captured, but the suspicion has always been pinpointed on one man…
A Manchester man accused of murdering a young woman in 1996 has once again protested his innocence after Netflix brought the crime back into the spotlight with their latest true-crime series.
Across three episodes, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork delves into the unsolved murder of French national, Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, a thirty-nine year old film maker and mother of one.
Two days before Christmas in 1996, Sophie’s body was found outside of her holiday home in West Cork, Ireland, a place she would regularly escape to from her busy life back in France.
Sophie’s body bore clear signs of assault, with over fifty injuries primarily to the head – however, because a murder hadn’t occurred in the area for decades, the police had little to no experience with this type of investigation, so the body was left outside until the pathologist arrived the next day.
Given the time that elapsed before his arrival, it was almost impossible to pinpoint a time of death, and other forensic evidence may have been lost due to this delay.
The police looked into a handful of suspects for Sophie’s murder, including her husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, and former lover, Bruno Carbonnet. But eventually, police tried to pin the crime on one man – Ian Bailey, a journalist from Manchester who had moved to Ireland to work as a reporter. Eerily, he had actually covered Sophie’s murder.
The police brought Bailey in for questioning when they noticed suspicious scratch marks on his hands – Bailey later insisted that they had happened when he climbed a tree to cut it down for Christmas. However, the evidence continued to stack up against Bailey, such as the level of detail about the murder and Sophie’s injuries used in his articles.
Friends also revealed that Bailey had made a confession about going ‘too far’ to them, while another witness had come forward to say they had seen Bailey in the vicinity of du Plantier’s holiday home on the night of her murder.
Bailey was also known for previous incidents of domestic violence towards his partner – a psychiatrist’s report prepared for the murder trial concluded he had a ‘personality constructed on narcissism, psycho-rigidity, violence, impulsiveness, egocentricity, with an intolerance to frustration and a great need for recognition.’
On February 10th, 1997, Bailey was arrested, as was his partner, but both were released without charges. And then, in January 1998, Bailey – alone this time – was again arrested before being released without charges.
The issue was the evidence – or the lack of it. Bailey explained away his ‘confessions’ as dark humour or his reiterating what was being said about him. There had also been no indication of forced entry at Sophie’s home, indicating that she had willingly opened her door. And, most prominently, no forensic evidence was found to tie him to the murder.
And, to this very day, Bailey maintains his innocence – just last month, he confirmed that a fresh investigation into Sophie’s murder had been authorised by Gardaí (the Irish police) after the emergence of what he described as ‘new information.’
He wrote on Twitter: “For those who have not heard a comprehensive cold case of the murder file an investigation has been authorised by Commissioner Harris as a result of me writing to him and the emergence of new information… I pray the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth emerges.”
And, on the topic of Netflix’s investigation into the matter, Bailey had merely said that he suspected the documentary series about the murder will be ‘a piece of propaganda’ and ‘a piece of demonisation.’
Bailey does appear briefly in the documentary, but only gave Netflix ‘limited access.’
Sophie: A Murder In West Cork is available to stream on Netflix now.
TV & Film
ITV airing special tribute to Paul O’Grady in schedule change
The channel will be showing the Royal special of Paul’s award-winning show For The Love Of Dogs
ITV have changed their programme scheduling this evening in order to air a tribute to Paul O’Grady.
The broadcaster has confirmed the shake-up to its scheduling following the death of beloved show biz star, Paul O’Grady, at 67. The channel will be showing the Royal special of Paul’s award-winning show For The Love Of Dogs at 5pm this evening in place of its game show The Chase.
The same slot used to famously be occupied by Paul’s self-titled teatime chat show, in a fitting nod to his legacy. The Queen Consort has said she has been left ‘deeply saddened’ at the death of her friend.
The Royal Family’s official Twitter account posted a tribute to the star, which read: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, who worked closely with Her Majesty in support of @Battersea_, providing lots of laughter and many waggy-tailed memories.”
Underneath the caption is a picture of the Queen Consort smiling alongside O’Grady after they took a rescued West Highland Terrier for a walk during a visit to a Battersea centre in Kent in February last year.
O’Grady spoke of his affection for Camilla praising the then Duchess of Cornwall’s commitment to Battersea, as he said: “I just love her, she’s great.”
Battersea Dogs Home commented under the tribute as they wrote: “We have fond memories of this trip to our Brands Hatch centre. Our thoughts and condolences are with the royal family.”
O’Grady passed away ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on the evening of Tuesday March 28th. His husband Andre Portasio, who married O’Grady in 2017, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.
“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”
The Royal special of For The Love Of Dogs will air on ITV at 5pm this evening.
TV & Film
Coronation Street acid attack twist leaves fans ‘in tears’ during disturbing scene
Corrie fans were left ‘screaming’ at their TVs after an emotional and disturbing plot twist in last night’s episode.
The dramatic scene saw Ryan Connor hit with a full glass of acid intended for bride Daisy Medley at her wedding, as she prepared to marry Daniel Osborne, with the scenes aired on Monday March 27th.
After the couple’s wedding car had been stolen, Ryan stepped in to act as chauffeur on her special day. As the DJ entered The Rovers Return to collect barmaid Daisy, the pair were stunned to see her stalker ex, Justin Rutherford, lurking there.
Justin approached the bride telling her that no one else would want her after this as he held a clear glass of liquid in his hand. As he went to chuck it at Daisy with full force, Ryan jumped across to block her and was left screaming on the floor in agony as his skin burned.
Daisy immediately called ‘999’ and followed the instructions of the operator as she proceeded to drag Ryan to the shower and turned the water on as she desperately searched for a pair of scissors to cut his shirt from him.
In unexpected shock, fans of the soap opera took to social media to applaud the actors’ performances in the harrowing episode which had watchers gripped to the edge of their seats and left in floods of tears.
One fan wrote: “This episode has really agonised me because I seen what acid attacks can do but thank goodness the face wasn’t harmed to Daisy and I feel so upset for Ryan.
“But you know what, this has been one of the best episodes of Corrie in 60 years and most importantly I got to applaud Ryan, Justin and Daisy for their amazing performances! 10/10.”
A second put: “Ryan’s screams went straight through to my soul. Absolutely agonising and heartbreaking to watch but incredible acting by both Ryan and Daisy.” A third added: “World class screen play from all tonight. Brutal.”
Someone found the screams chilling as they typed: “Usually acting doesn’t get to me but Ryan’s screams, I had to turn down the volume…haunting. Award winning acting.” And another was left in tears as they said: “Amazing acting tonight me and mum in tears.”
The soap set on the cobbles was praised for its standard of acting, with another fan saying: “Very powerful episode. I never moved the full hour, well done @coronationstreet.”
TV & Film
BBC cancels Top Gear filming after Freddie Flintoff accident
‘We’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year’
Filming for the latest series of Top Gear has been cancelled after presenter Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff was injured in an accident, the BBC has said.
The presenter, 45, was hurt in the accident while filming in December at Top Gear’s test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, in Surrey. The BBC said: “Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34.”
The broadcaster has said a decision on how to best continue would be made later this year. Following the accident, which happened on December 13th, the media personality received medical attention at the scene before being taken to hospital for further treatment.
In a statement, the BBC said: “We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery. We understand this [halting the show] will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year.”
The crash is believed to have left Flintoff ‘psychologically traumatised’. The broadcaster has said the incident has also impacted the production team, and there will be a health and safety review of the show. Top Gear is one of its most successful programmes, and has had a series of different presenters since 2002.
It is not the first time the former England cricketer has been involved in an accident since he began presenting the long-running programme back in 2019, alongside co-hosts Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.
He also crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in February 2019, and then in September of the same year, he also crashed during a drag race while he was filming at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire – the latter in which he walked away unharmed.
After retiring from international cricket in 2010, Flintoff ventured into TV where he became part of Sky’s, A League of Their Own, and was also a contestant on the Australian version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, where he was crowned king of the jungle.
Trying his hand at acting, he has also appeared in the drama Love, Lies and Records in 2017 – and singing in Fat Friends The Musical too. It is unknown whether Flintoff will make a return to the show at this time.
Long standing fans of the show will remember that former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond, also crashed at the same airfield track in a high-speed accident in 2006. The accident left him in a coma for a period of time while he made a full recovery from a brain injury.
He survived and ultimately returned to the series alongside fellow hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May. The trio left Top Gear in 2015 after an altercation between Clarkson and a producer.
Last month, Hammond said he worried the crash would be responsible for his worsening memory.