Journalist Don Hale received the OBE for investigative journalism – and a drama about his fight to free convicted murderer Steven Downing is to be screened on Sunday.
Don, a former editor of the Matlock Mercury, has already seen the BBC1 drama, and fears the dramatisation may not reveal the full picture about his seven-year fight against the miscarriage of justice.
Here he reveals what the scriptwriters added – and what they missed out.
‘In Denial of Murder’ is an entertaining, well produced and brilliantly acted two-part drama.
It is however, just a drama! It is NOT a factual documentary and has been especially written for prime-time television.
In my opinion, several crucial elements of the story have been omitted and I believe it fails to provide a wholly accurate version of events.
In the drama, my character, Stephen Tompkinson has me saying and doing several things that never really happened.
For example, I have never called Wendy Sewell the ‘Bakewell Tart’ or the ‘Martini Girl.’ And the timeline has unfortunately been seriously amended without reason.
These errors and others clearly present a false impression.
Trying to edit nine-years research and information into a two-hour slot was obviously mission impossible for producers Hat Trick and the BBC, and it seems such a shame that 50 per cent of the filming was cut from this landmark case.
I also feel there is a backlash element of the ‘Hutton’ report, in that the BBC are still reluctant to rock any boats in authority and have edited rather heavily.