Harold Shipman, UK’s most prolific serial killer

Talking about the Hammersmith murders of 1964-65 and my book The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper on Shaun Attwood’s show last week, I was suddenly asked about Harold Shipman. Shaun has a lot of followers in the US, so I was attempting to outline who the chilling Shipman was. This came up because I wrote about a fascinating BBC documentary […]

Dark Land: Hunting the Killers

Coming to BBC iPlayer this evening is this new four-part series. It uses contemporary experts to reinvestigate notorious cold cases to unearth possible clues to the killers’ identities. I am a contributor to one of the films, which explores the murder of showgirl Mamie Shotton, who went missing in 1920. Her body was found 41 years later in a cave […]

The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story

I wrote a feature for the Mirror‘s We Love TV mag this week and wanted to flag up this series. It’s a three-part look at the appalling Harold Shipman case made by filmmaker Chris Wilson for BBC Two. It is 20 years since this family doctor was exposed as probably the worst serial murderer in modern times, but it’s hard […]

Des – ITV’s account of Dennis Nilsen

As the second wave of coronavirus lockdown looms, we all need cheering, so ITV’s three nights devoted to a drama about serial killer Dennis Nilsen this week may be approached with trepidation. Nilsen was found guilty of murdering 15 boys and young men between 1978 and 1983. The case still has the power to dismay us, being a perplexing tale […]

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark TV series

Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016, wrote one of the most fascinating true-crime books of the last 10 years. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark charted her obsession with a case about an unknown perpetrator she called the Golden State Killer. The crimes graduated from burglaries to rapes and then murders. They were chilling in their sadism, remorselessness and sheer […]

Murder by the Sea: Michael Downes

Anyone who doubts the value of bobbies on the beat in these days of major police cuts should consider the case of Michael Downes in Blackpool in the 1970s and 80s. Two years after the cruel murder of 64-year-old widow Catherine Weaver in 1978, another woman, Hilda Keefe, 64, spotted an intruder at the Blackpool home she shared with her […]

ITV drama about serial killer Dennis Nilsen

ITV has just announced a new three-part drama about murderer Dennis Nilsen. Called Des – Nilsen’s nickname – it has top-quality talents involved, including David Tennant (a long way from Doctor Who here), Daniel Mays (Line of Duty) and Jason Watkins (The Crown). It is also based on Brian Masters’ landmark book, Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen. […]

Jack the Ripper – The Case Reopened BBC1

When I was on the last day of filming for BBC4’s Dark Son back in August, the film’s presenter and top criminologist David Wilson was chatting about the Jack the Ripper documentary he had just made with Emilia Fox. He was talking about how the programme shed new light on the case. Let’s face it, the Ripper industry of books, […]

The Yorkshire Ripper Files

I remember as a student being woken by the radio alarm to news that police had finally arrested the Yorkshire Ripper – after long six years of hunting him. That was 1981. Big news. The murderer had spread fear across the North of England with his cowardly, obscene hammer attacks on women. The media had started by loyally reporting police […]