Channel 4 Doc to Reexamine the James Bulger Murder Trial


Channel 4 has commissioned October Films to produce a documentary marking the 25th anniversary of the murder of 2-year-old James Bulger, bringing together those involved in the trial to examine whether justice was served.

Bulger was abducted and murdered in 1993 by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. The Bulger Murder: 25 Years On (working title) features interviews with individuals personally involved in the case. Interviewees include Ralph Bulger (TBC), Laurence Lee (Jon Venables’ solicitor), Dominic Lloyd (Robert Thompson’s solicitor), Det. Sgt. Phil Roberts (who conducted the interviews with Thompson), Detective Inspector Jim Fitzsimmons, Richard Henriques, QC (barrister for the prosecution), Home Secretary at the time Lord Michael Howard, former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, journalist Shelagh Fogarty and author Blake Morrison. The Bulger Murder: 25 Years On also features excerpts from the police interview tapes with Venables and Thompson. The documentary is directed by Matt Smith (Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad).

Michelle Chappell, Channel 4’s commissioning editor of documentaries, said, “James Bulger’s murder shocked the nation and still lingers in the hearts and minds of the British public. Recent events have put the question of whether justice was served back at the forefront of national debate. By bringing together some of the key contributors to the trial and sentencing as well as those reacting to and in some cases helping shape the public sentiment, this will be a timely and thought-provoking look at how we should deal with horrific crime and the punishment of perpetrators not yet into their teens.”

Matt Robins, the creative director at October Films and executive producer on the project, added, “The murder of James Bulger fundamentally changed the way we Britons live and continues to provoke raw emotion. We saw this film as an opportunity to ask how 25 years of hindsight have affected the perspectives of those closest to the case. Rather than retreading the details of that dark day in Liverpool, we wanted to consider what the British reaction says about us as a nation and whether we’ve changed over the intervening years.”