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5 UK True Crime Dramas not to be missed in 2020



It always feels like we can’t get enough of true crime dramatisations and 2020 is clearly going to be a bumper year.

ITV have already given us the excellent White House Farm series based on the 1980’s Jamie Bamber case. Bamber was imprisoned for the murders of 5 members of his immediate family in the mid 1980’s. Also on the horizon for broadcast this year are a number of other series, ranging from ITV’s study of serial killer Dennis Nilson (played by David Tennant) to Netflix/BBC Series The Serpent about one of the most elusive serial killers of the 1970’s.

Check out our list below for the full story…

Des, David Tennant

Des (ITV)

Set to air on ITV later this year, three part drama Des, written by Luke Neal, is not about popular BBC Sports presenter Des Lynam but about notorious 1980’s serial killer Dennis Nilson. Played by David Tennant, most recently in Channel’s unmissable Deadwater Fell, the serial will look at Nilson’s capture and trial.

The cast also includes Daniel Mays as Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and Jason Watkins as Nilson biographer Brian Masters. Much of the material comes from Masters’ book Killing for Company.


The Serpent

The Serpent (BBC Two/Netflix)

The Serpent, which will air on BBC Two in the UK and Netflix worldwide, is about the hunt for serial killer Charles Sobrhaj (played by Tahar Rahim) who in the 1970s ended up as interpol’s most wanted man and was suspected of killing at least 20 young backpackers on the “Hippie Trail” in India, Nepal and Thailand during the 1970’s.

Victoria’s Jenna Coleman plays Sobhraj’s partner and accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc. The cast for the eight parter also includes Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Fabien Frankel and Chicha Amatayakul.


The Pembrokeshire Murders (ITV)

Based on the book Catching the Bullseye Killer by Senior Investigating Officer Steve Wilkins and ITV news journalist Jonathan Hill and starring Luke Evans, the three part The Pembrokeshire Murders will air on ITV.

Evans plays lead detective Wilkins who in 2006 was at the forefront of pioneering forensic methods that helped bring to justice a serial killer from the 1980s.

The cast also includes Keith Allen as John Cooper, Owen Teale as Gerard Elias, Alexandria Riley as Jackie Richards, Caroline Berry as Pat Cooper, Oliver Ryan as Andrew Cooper and David Fynn as ITV News journalist Jonathan Hill.


Honour (ITV)

Honour is an ITV two parter, penned by Gwyneth Hughes. It stars Keeley Hawes as detective Caroline Goode who led the investigation into the “honour” killing in 2006 of Banaz Mahmood after her family ordered her death when she left her husband and began seeing another man. The case led to a major rethink on how these cases are handled after a commission discovered that Mahmoud had been to the police on numerous occasions fearing her life was in danger.


Stephen Merchant, The Barking Murders

The Barking Murders (BBC One)

Stephen Merchant plays against type in The Barking Murders which focuses on the case of serial killer Stephen Port. The BBC drama is written by True Crime specialists Jeff Pope and Neil McKay, and also stars Sheridan Smith and Jaime Winstone.

The series focuses on the investigation to uncover the truth about what happened to Port’s many victims.

Definitely much to look forward to for fans of True Crime factual dramas there then. All will air this year.