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Downing case to be TV film drama

A two-part fact-based film drama about the Stephen Downing case has just started pre-production to film in September for BBC One.

The film explores the story surrounding the murder of Wendy Sewell in 1973 and the controversy around Stephen Downing, who served 27 years in prison for her murder.

Following a campaign led by local journalist Don Hale – started when he was editor of the Matlock Mercury – last year the Court of Appeal declared the conviction to be unsafe.

Produced by Hat Trick Productions, In Denial of Murder is written by Neil McKay, directed by David Richards and produced by Mary McMurray.

It will be shot entirely in the Derbyshire Peak District and produced in association with the East Midland Media Investment Fund. The cast details will be announced in the next few weeks.

The book about the campaign, Town Without Pity, was shortlisted by the Crime Writer’s Association for the Gold Dagger awards for non-fiction.

  • Don’s campaign has begun appearing in quiz questions – the latest set by former Mastermind host, Magnus Magnusson. The Guardian’s daily quiz, submitted by guest quizmasters recently had this question:
    — What is the name of the newspaper editor whose campaigning led in 2002 to the quashing of the conviction of Stephen Downing for the murder of Wendy Sewell in Matlock in 1973?
    (a) Rosie Boycott
    (b) Don Hale
    (c) Piers Morgan
    (d) David Yelland.

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