BBC Orders True Crime Drama From Sarah Phelps About The Murder Of Peter Farquhar

Post by:
09 Nov 20

BBC Orders True Crime Drama From Sarah Phelps About The Murder Of Peter Farquhar

The BBC has ordered a brand new true-crime drama ‘The Sixth Commandment’ (w/t), which explores the extraordinary events surrounding the death of teacher and author Peter Farquhar the broadcaster has announced.

The series tells the story of how the meeting of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar, and a charismatic young student, Ben Field, who bonded over their love of books and involvement with the Church of England, set the stage for one of the most complex and confounding criminal cases in recent memory. It also focuses on how suspicions around Ben’s relationship with Peter’s deeply religious neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, also targeted by Field, unlocked a series of stunning revelations, culminating in a headline-grabbing trial.

The drama captures the initial seductions, the extreme gaslighting, the gripping police investigation and Peter’s killer finally being brought to justice four years after his untimely death. While poignantly highlighting the damaging effect of isolation and loneliness, it also celebrates both Peter and Ann’s lives as cherished mentors, much-loved relatives and adored friends.

Commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, the mini-series is written by Sarah Phelps and produced by Wild Mercury Productions (a Banijay UK Company) and True Vision Productions.

“This is such a shocking and brutal case; how a murderer hid his manipulation and malevolence in plain sight of a small community, how he insinuated his way into the lives of his victims,” comments Sarah Phelps, writer and Executive Producer. “It’s a heartbreaking story of such desperate longing and loneliness but even within the darkness, there is the most astonishing blazing love and courage. I’m honoured to have been asked to write this drama and to be trusted with the memories and experiences of Peter and Ann’s families.”

Phelps is no stranger to crime drama, having written many Agatha Christie adaptations including ‘The ABC Murders’, ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ and ‘The Pale Horse’, along with adapting Tana French’s ‘Dublin Murders’. She also adapted J. K. Rowling’s ‘The Casual Vacancy’ for screen, alongside creating WW1 medical drama ‘The Crimson Field’, and co-creating Sky’s ‘Hooten & The Lady’. Prior to that, she worked on ‘Eastenders’, and wrote multiple episodes of the BBC drama ‘Dickensian’.

“The death of Peter Farquhar and the grooming of Ann Moore-Martin at the hands of Ben Field shocked the small church-going community in which these crimes took place,” adds Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. “Who better than Sarah Phelps, with her vivid imagination and forensic understanding of the criminal mind, to tell this tragic story and to honour the memory of its victims.”

‘The Sixth Commandment’ (w/t) is a Wild Mercury and True Vision production for BBC One. The mini-series is executive produced by Sarah Phelps, Derek Wax for Wild Mercury Productions, Brian Woods and Jezza Neumann for True Vision Productions and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC. The Sixth Commandment (w/t) is being distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.

“Having followed the police investigation over 3 years we were delighted when the families of both Peter and Ann agreed to support this powerful story being serialised,” commented Brian Woods, Executive Producer for True Vision. “This drama will show how these two vibrant and complex souls were groomed and manipulated by an evil predator. And we hope this series will raise awareness of how vulnerable those living alone can sometimes become.”

No news on when ‘The Sixth Commandment’ (w/t) will air yet, but casting and filming dates will be announced in due course.