TV

First trailer for Stephen Merchant ‘Grindr killer’ drama shows families’ desperate fight for justice

Lily Wakefield December 13, 2021
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Stephen Merchant as Grindr serial killer Stephen Port in Four Lives

Stephen Merchant as Grindr serial killer Stephen Port in Four Lives. (BBC)

An upcoming BBC drama will see Stephen Merchant play Grindr serial killer Stephen Port as the families of his victims fight for justice in the face of a failing police investigation.

The three-part drama, Four Lives, was set to be released in 2020, but had to be delayed because of an inquest into the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into Port’s crimes.

Last week, the 10-week inquest culminated in a jury ruling that there had been police “failures” in the investigation, and had they been avoided, some of his victims may still be alive.

The inquest ruling makes Four Lives all the more pertinent, as it follows the families’ desperate attempts to uncover the truth after the murders of Port’s four young, gay victims – Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, and Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor.

The drama will begin on Monday 3 January on BBC One, and will run over three consecutive nights. All episodes will be released at the same time on BBC iPlayer. 

the cast of Four lives, Stephen Port drama
Four Lives will air in January, 2022. (BBC)

The series was written by Neil McKay with Jeff Pope as executive producer. The pair have previously worked together on crime dramas The Moorside and Appropriate Adult.

In the first trailer for Four Lives, we get a glimpse of Merchant’s terrifying portrayal of Port. The serial killer was known for being exceptionally tall, six foot five, and Merchant appears eerily similar at six foot seven.

The series also stars Sheridan Smith as Sarah Sak, the mother of Walgate, Port’s first victim.

When the series was first announced in 2019, then BBC controller Piers Wenger said: “The Stephen Port murders have shone a light not just on the life of one deeply disturbed individual but into the plight of the four innocent young gay men who fell foul of him.

“Jeff and Neil will go behind the headlines to tell the story from a fresh perspective considering the impact of these crimes rather than the crimes themselves and will explore the challenges the police faced in identifying the serial nature of the killings.

“We are thrilled with the cast which has been assembled to tell this story and look forward to bringing this difficult but very timely story to BBC One.”

Merchant added: “This is a story that can’t be ignored — how four young lives were lost and their families’ brave attempt to uncover what happened.”

More: four lives, Stephen Port

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