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Who Killed Julia Wallace? (ITV Thriller, Eric Longworth)

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Who Killed Julia Wallace? ITV Thriller, Eric Longworth

Who Killed Julia Wallace? took us back to the early 1930’s with a drama about the real life murder of the housewife of the title. Wallace was found badly beaten to death in the front room of her home in Wolverton Street, Anfield on 20 January 1931. Her husband William (Eric Longworth, chosen because of his great physical similarity to Wallace) was prime suspect and was convicted of her murder but an appeal saw him cleared of her death and released from prison. No other person was ever found and her death remained unsolved. Wallace himself died just two years later.

Wallace’s defence hinged on the fact that on the night of the murder he claimed he had received a phone call from a man named Qualtrough and made an appointment to visit him at a house in Menlove Gardens East. Wallace was an Insurance Agent and it was not unusual for him to pay visits to people at their home for the purposes of a new policy.

The writers and production team of Who Killed Julia Wallace makes it plain that they believe William Wallace did in fact kill his Julia.

The production was inspired by the 1969 publication of the book The Killing of Julia Wallace by Jonathan Goodman as well as a 1972 book, Murderer Scot Free – A solution to the Wallace Puzzle, by American criminologist Robert F. Hussey who, like Goodman, was convinced Wallace was innocent.

The Julia Wallace case is one that has long fascinated, in 1936 crime writing legend Dorothy L. Sayers wrote an in-depth piece, The Liverpool Phone Murder, about the case for Empire News. There was a 1981 radio documentary by Roger Wilkes examining the case and in 1990 there was feature length BBC Screen Two The Man From The Pru, this starred Jonathan Pryce as Wallace.

Cast: Eric Longworth as William Herbert Wallace; Kay Holding as Julia Wallace; Alan Bowlas as Samuel Beattie; James Lynch as Mr Johnstone; Vera Kelly as Mrs Johnstone; James Giles as Professor McFall; Shay Gorman as Detective Superintendent Moore; Peter Birchall as Alan Close; Gladys Ambrose as Amy Wallace; David Williams as Clerk of The Court; Frank Middlemass as Edward Hemmerde; John Boxer as Roland Oliver; Mike Clifton as Mr Phillips; Pan Face as Sidney Green; John Chegwin as Police Constable Sargent; Georgina Smith as Manageress; Norman Shelley as Judge; Steven Dowdeswell as Kenneth Caird; Kate Watkins as Elsie Wright; David Hornby as Douglas Metcalfe

Writers: Fenton Bresler, David C. Rea / Camera: Peter Jackson / Editor: Peter M. Taylor / Executive Producer: Michael Deakin / Produced and Directed: David C. Rea

UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 1×69 minute episode / Wednesday 29 October 1975 at 10.30pm