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 […]

West End Girls by Barbara Tate

Barbara Tate’s memoir West End Girls is a totally absorbing and revelatory memoir about the author’s two-year stint working as a maid for the Queen of Soho – aka 1940s prostitute Mae. It’s a remarkable glimpse at a lost Soho – grubby, still a residential neighbourhood with small businesses, seedy and with an air of criminality. Barbara is a wide-eyed […]

A Beatle at The Bush

Little while ago @FlipLondonTours tweeted a pic of Paul McCartney filming a scene for A Hard Day’s Night in 1964. He’s seen going into The Bush on Goldhawk Road, London. The scene was never used in the final film, but the picture gave me a jolt because I wrote about this pub in The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper without […]

The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury

A painstakingly researched and totally absorbing account of a once sensational, now forgotten, murder from 1935. Alma Rattenbury and her young lover, George Stoner, 18, faced the hangman in an Old Bailey trial following the murder of her husband, distinguished architect Francis Rattenbury. The case shocked, horrified, electrified the nation and went on to inspire plays and TV dramas. Francis […]

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 […]

The Real Prime Suspect series 2

I watched the opener of Jackie Malton’s latest series last night and thought it was a particularly sensitive and interesting episode. The case was the heartbreaking kidnap of Muriel McKay from her home in Wimbledon in 1969. It was extraordinary for several reasons. Muriel was the wife of Alick McKay, a newspaper executive and right-hand man of Rupert Murdoch. In […]

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 […]

Crime, manhunts and classic pop on Portobello Radio

It was fascinating to chat with Portobello Radio host Aidan McManus last night. He’s a walking encyclopaedia of rock music, local history and unsolved crimes. He is also a guide for the highly rated FlipsideLondon Tours, which explore London as home to David Bowie, Joe Strummer and the Clash, the punk scene and gangsters. His enthusiasm for music and local […]