Production Begins on BBC Crime Drama Steeltown Murders


Production has begun on Steeltown Murders (w.t.), a fact-based crime drama for BBC One and BBC iPlayer produced by Severn Screen (The Pembrokeshire Murders, Hidden/Craith) in association with All3Media International.

Written by Ed Whitmore (Manhunt, Safe House), the series takes place in both 1973 and the early 2000s. It centers on the hunt to catch the killer of three young women in the Port Talbot area of Wales and tells how the case was solved almost 30 years later using pioneering DNA evidence.

Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, State of Play) and Steffan Rhodri (In My Skin, Gavin & Stacey) lead the cast as DCI Paul Bethell and Phil “Bach” Rees, with their younger selves played by Scott Arthuro (Good Omens, Borg McEnroe) and Siôn Alun Davies (The Sandman, Hidden), respectively.

The cast also includes Keith Allen (The Pembrokeshire Murders, Marcella), Priyanga Burford (Industry, No Time to Die), Sharon Morgan (Yr Amgueddfa, Gangs of London), Nia Roberts (Red Rose, Yr Amgueddfa), Elinor Crawley (Vikings, Ordinary Lies), Gareth John Bale (35 Awr, Y Pris), Kriss Dosanjh (The Larkins, Casualty), Matthew Gravelle (Silent Witness, Broadchurch), Amy Morgan (Mr. Selfridge, Showtrial), Dyfan Dwyfor (A Very English Scandal, Bang) and more.

The four-part series was co-commissioned with BBC Wales and is set to air next year on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Filming is currently underway across south Wales. Marc Evans (The Pembrokeshire Murders, Hinterland) is directing, with Hannah Thomas (Hidden, I Am Not a Witch) serving as producer. Executive producers are Ed Talfan, Jon Hill and Whitmore for Severn Screen and Rebecca Ferguson and Helen Perry for the BBC. Additional funding support was provided by the Welsh government via Creative Wales.

“We are hugely grateful to the BBC, All3Media International and Creative Wales for their support on the project,” Talfan said. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Ed Whitmore and Marc Evans and look forward to delivering a compelling and compassionate drama. The most important aspect of this project is remembering that the events of 1973 are still fresh in the minds of many people. Ed Whitmore and Marc Evans have worked on a number of challenging fact-based dramas and are working closely with our incredible cast and crew to bring this true story to the screen.”

“Ed’s scripts are a poignant and compelling read, balancing the tragic events alongside the revolutionary advances in DNA profiling which were crucial in this case and many others since,” said Glenister. “I’m also very happy to be part of a production filmed in south Wales, where I have my own family connections.”

Rhodri added, “I’m honored to be teaming up with Marc Evans again to work on this moving new drama. It’s a harrowing story set in the community where I grew up, and the dedication and innovation shown by those who finally cracked the case make it a fascinating venture for me.”

“I was drawn to this tragic true story because it’s ultimately as much about the scarring effects of an unsolved crime on a community as it is the crime itself,” Whitmore commented. “The narrative unfolds on two timelines—1973 and 2002—and the chance to chart the interweaving lives of our characters across this epic canvas is quite simply a gift to a dramatist.”

Ferguson, commissioning editor for BBC Drama, said, “Steeltown Murders (w.t.) is an important account of the events that affected a Welsh community in 1973. The series explores the very nature of justice and what it means to live on in the shadow of such brutal tragedy. Helen Perry and I are very grateful to be working with Ed Whitmore, Marc Evans and the team at Severn Screen, who are thoughtfully bringing this story to life.”

Nick Andrews, head of commissioning for BBC Wales, added, “In this profoundly moving series, it required the very best in the business to gather together to do their very best work. In Marc Evans and Ed Whitmore we have two of Britain’s premier storytellers doing just that. Severn Screen have pulled together an extraordinary team both behind and in front of the camera. It’s a great privilege for BBC Cymru Wales to be involved in this project. This story will touch audiences not just here in Wales but right across the U.K.”