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Filming starts on Downing TV drama

A film drama based on the controversial case of Stephen Downing, and Don Hale’s long campaign to free him, has begun filming for BBC One.

In Denial of Murder will see Ballykissangel’s Stephen Tompkinson starring as former Matlock Mercury editor Don, with Judy Flynn from the Brittas Empire playing his wife, Kath.

Based on the true story of the murder of Wendy Sewell, the two-part drama from Hat Trick Productions will explore the life of the victim, the controversy surrounding the conviction of Stephen Downing and the story of Don’s successful campaign.

Written by Neil McKay, the drama is being produced in association with the East Midland Media Investment Fund and filmed on location in the Derbyshire Peak District.

Hat Trick head of drama Mark Redhead said: “Don Hale’s determination to prove Downing’s innocence captured the imagination of press and public alike.

“Based on extensive research, the drama tells the moving and tragic story behind the headlines, combining the story of Hale’s campaign with an account of the life of the murder victim Wendy Sewell.”

Don said: “I’ve been in touch with the BBC for the past four years ago and have been working with Mark Redhead and Neil McKay.

“It is based on my campaign but obviously incorporates the BBC’s own investigations and should be a fairly sharp production by the time it is finished.

“I’m quite flattered that such a prominent actor is playing my part. I understand that he volunteered for the role and seemed keen to do it.”

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