Channel 4 pull James Bulger documentary from 4OD after severe backlash

Mike P Williams
Contributor
(Credit: Channel 4)

The Channel 4 documentary that aired this week marking the 25th anniversary since the toddler’s death has been removed from the catch-up service.

On Monday, 5 February, the channel aired an hour-long documentary looking back on the horrific murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993, by school boys Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

The Bulger Killers: Was Justice Done? featured a number of faces who were involved in the case at the time, including workers within the press and media, the boys’ defence solicitors, and members of the legal prosecution.

However, the programme quickly came under scrutiny for how it approached the young killers and appeared, in the eyes of some, to sympathise with them.

The claim of the documentary’s experts swayed towards the notion that both Venables and Thompson were too young to know what they were doing, and therefore shouldn’t have been held accountable.

(Credit: Channel 4)

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, boldly claimed Denise Fergus’, Jame’s mum, was at fault: ‘A shocking mistake the mother has to live with.’

Denise took to Twitter to clarify how she had no part in the documentary that angered many with its point of view. Instead, she confirmed her involvement with an ITV documentary to air this Thursday with Sir Trevor McDonald.


Since Channel 4’s show, they’ve received huge criticism from viewers – so much so that they’ve removed the documentary from their 4OD online service. It’s now rendered ‘Unavailable’ when the toddler’s name is searched for.

(Credit: Channel 4)

Dominic Lloyd, the killers’ solicitor, suggested that if the crime had happened a few months earlier, under previous laws, the pair wouldn’t have been prosecuted.

‘I think in that type of case that has to be weighed down firmly in favour of rehabilitation,’ he shared. ‘To do the contrary is to effectively condemn them to life at 10 years of age.’ He went on to say that their sentencing and treatment was ‘not something I’m comfortable with at all.’

James Bulger: A Mother’s Story will air at 9pm, ITV1, on Thursday 8 February.

Update: Yahoo Celeb reached out to Channel 4, who claim the content was down due to an issue relating to archive footage, and will be available on All4 again shortly.

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