I was just about to write something glib about ITV’s latest adventure into True Crime, a genre which it has mined with great success — with The Widower and Lucan and suchlike — when I notice that The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies is written by Peter Morgan.
He’s the critically-acclaimed writer who wrote all those Tony Blair dramas. His numerous credits include The Queen and Frost/Nixon and Rush. Lost Honour is also directed by Roger ‘Notting’ Michell.
It’s based on the case of Christopher Jeffries, the poor man who was vilified in the press when he became a suspect in the disappearance of Joanna Yates four years back. It’s a drama that very much asks questions about our own disquieting relationship with the popular press. Rabid red top journalists have been an entertaining staple of crime fiction for a hundred years, but it’s not so funny when it happens in real-life.
Morgan talks about his reasons for writing the drama in this fascinating article here.
Here’s the blurb:
December 2010. Retired school teacher Christopher Jefferies, a Bristol resident in his 60s, goes through his orderly morning routine. He wakes at 7.30am, listens to the Today programme, says his prayers and visits a local deli where he is on first name terms with the shopkeeper. He cuts rather an eccentric figure. He is precise and meticulous. An active member of the local community, he participates in a residents’ committee, is involved at a local church and is studying for a French literature degree.
However, Christopher’s life is about to be turned inside out when one of his tenants, Joanna Yeates, disappears without a trace just before Christmas. As the investigation gathers momentum suspicion soon turns to those who live close to her and as a keyholder and landlord Christopher is questioned. What follows is a descent into chaos and a living nightmare for Jefferies.
So, you can see The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies tonight at 9pm on ITV, and it concludes tomorrow night.