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TV & Film

New true crime series about Harold Shipman is airing on the BBC soon

This looks good…

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ITV

The BBC has confirmed a brand new docuseries on the famous doctor of death, Harold Shipman.

It’ll be perfect for all you true crime addicts, and will be relatively easy to watch as it is only a three-part series.

Made by filmmaker Chris Wilson, The Shipman Files will examine the shocking crimes of Shipman with a fine-tooth comb.

Shipman, a GP who spent most of his career working in Greater Manchester, was found guilty of murdering 15 people in 2000, but his victims were thought to run into the hundreds. 

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Across the series, Wilson meets with those closest to the case both professionally and personally. 

He’s set to explore the attitudes towards the elderly that enabled the respected doctor to get away with murder. 

The docuseries is set to follow the stories of the victims rather than the killer, as with the BAFTA-winning series The Yorkshire Ripper Files.

There will be first-hand accounts from some of the victims’ closest friends and family plus detectives, journalists, doctors. 

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Episode one will show viewers how the crimes were first discovered, opening in Hyde where Shipman worked for over 20 years.

The BBC description reads: “Shipman was one of the town’s most popular GPs. But in 1998, doubts were raised over the validity of the will left by one of his deceased patients, whose death Shipman had certified as due to ‘old age’.

“When the police exhumed her body, the subsequent post-mortem revealed that she had in fact been killed by a fatal dose of diamorphine – pure, medical-grade heroin.

“Suddenly what had been a curious complaint, became a murder inquiry, and the victim’s GP, Harold Shipman, became the prime suspect.

“And looking back at the deaths of several more of his recently deceased patients, police inquiries quickly snowballed into a multiple murder investigation.

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“Shipman would eventually stand trial for the murder of 15 of his former patients from Hyde, all of them women, almost all of them elderly.”

The three-part series will be a gripping watch, which will question whether the fact Shipman targeted mainly elderly patients was the real reason he got away with killing so many people over such a long period of time. 

Chris Wilson, the filmmaker behind the series, says: “There have been many films about Harold Shipman. Most attempt to take us ‘inside-the-mind’ of a serial killer. But none have fully explored the historical, cultural and social context that enabled a medical professional to take the lives of hundreds of trusting patients over more than two decades.

“It’s a chilling story about power, authority and an astonishing betrayal of trust – one that, for me, remains as pertinent today as it was twenty years ago.”

The series will air on BBC2 in BBC Week 39 (later this month). 

TV & Film

Sheridan Smith to star in ITV’s ‘gripping’ new Manchester-made drama

“Can’t wait to start filming on this thrilling, complex story”

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ITV

A brand new ITV drama from the team behind The Stranger is set to start filming this year, with BAFTA award-winning actress Sheridan Smith starring in it.

No Return is going to be produced by Manchester-based executive producers Nicola Shindler and Richard Fee (The Stranger, Safe), while Hannah Quinn (The Stranger, Safe) will direct the series.

It follows the huge success of Manchester-born writer Danny Brocklehurst’s previous projects – such as Shameless, The Stranger and Safe.

The new four-part series is set to be absolutely ‘gripping’ as it follows the tale of a family holiday to Turkey which soon turns into a nightmare.  

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The synopsis reads: “Looking forward to an all-inclusive luxury break to enjoy the sun and sea with the family, Kathy and Martin, their son Noah and younger daughter Jess are blissfully unaware of the horrific ordeal about to unfold.

“The holiday is a chance to unwind and for Kathy and Martin to spend some much-needed family time. Until unsuspecting Noah accepts a seemingly innocent invitation to a beach party from a fellow holidaymaker, Rosie, who is staying at the same hotel, and Kathy and Martin’s world spectacularly falls apart.

“An arrest, an expensive and alien legal system, looming media coverage and resistance from fellow holidaymakers to come to their aid leaves the distraught parents fighting for Noah’s freedom when ironically he should be at school sitting his latest exams.”

Speaking of the upcoming project, lead actress Sheridan Smith said: “I’m such a big fan of Danny Brocklehurst and Red Production, they make incredible dramas.

“I was thrilled to be asked to play Kathy in this exciting production and to be at ITV again. Can’t wait to start filming on this thrilling, complex story about family finding their way through a terrifying situation.”

Manchester writer Danny Brocklehurst commented: “No Return is truly a passion project for me. It’s the story of a family caught in a modern nightmare but it allows us to explore themes of parenthood, justice, addiction and consent.

“I am delighted to be working with the amazing Sheridan Smith and once again partnering with ITV, and the brilliant Nicola Shindler and Hannah Quinn.”

The series is set to begin filming this summer.

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TV & Film

ITV’s new drama about the ‘worst serial killer Wales has ever seen’ starts tonight

“Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force”

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ITV

The Pembrokeshire Murders starring Luke Evans starts on ITV tonight and it promises to be your next favourite series. 

Airing over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, The Pembrokeshire Murders follows Welsh actor Luke Evans as Senior Investigating Officer, Steve Wilkins as he reopens two unsolved double murders in Wales. 

The synopsis reads: “Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force. In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decided to reopen both cases,

“Employing pioneering forensic methods, Wilkins and his handpicked team found microscopic DNA and fibres that potentially linked the murders to a string of burglaries committed in the 80s and 90s.

“The perpetrator of those robberies was nearing the end of his prison sentence, but if Steve Wilkins was right, he was also a serial killer… Could Steve and his team find enough forensic evidence to charge their suspect before he was released to potentially kill again?”

Keith Allen plays John Cooper, the Welsh serial killer who was given life in 2011 for the 1985 double murder of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas and the 1989 double murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon. 

The true story gained significant media attention at the time when it was discovered that John had appeared on Bullseye in 1989, a factor which later became a crucial element in his identification. 

Speaking about the show, Luke Evans admitted he was hooked from the start: “The story hooked me immediately. I mean, also, I’m a sucker for a true story and this isn’t just a true story, it’s a shocking, true story about the worst serial killer that Wales has ever seen.

“I got to use my own Welsh accent for the first time in many, many, many years and it was a great experience all around.”

He continued: “These stories do feel like they can’t be true, they can’t be real. But this one has so many twists and turns and it almost feels many, many times during the story that the whole thing is going to go cold once again, because the forensic evidence is so minimal and the budgets were running out and people were losing faith.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders airs tonight (Monday 11th January) at 9pm on ITV.

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TV & Film

Gogglebox star ‘unrecognisable’ after shaving his head completely

‘Oh wow, you look fab’

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One Gogglebox star has been branded ‘unrecognisable’ after completely shaving his head.

Stephen Webb, who features on Gogglebox with husband Daniel Lustig, recently shared his new dramatic look on Instagram.

The Brighton-based couple are both hairdressers and after viewers recently claimed Stephen ‘looked like Ken Barlow’ with his long hair, he’s decided to chop it all off. 

The 48-year-old grabbed a razor and shaved right down the middle of his head.

stephengwebb1971 / Instagram

Sharing the post to his Instagram followers, one has replied ‘OMG….why?’, while another said ‘love it bruv’.

A third said: “Looks good, makes you look younger and I don’t mean to offended you but you’ve got sexy straight vibes going”. A fourth commented ‘oh wow, you look fab’.

Stephen joined Gogglebox as part of the original lineup in the very first series in 2013, but his husband Daniel only joined in 2019.

The new series is set to begin in February on Channel 4. 

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