Martin Clunes says Levi Bellfield drama 'Manhunt' isn't 'violence porn'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Martin Clunes (Credit: ITV)

Martin Clunes has tried to get out in front of any potential criticism of new ITV series Manhunt, a drama about the search for serial murderer Levi Bellfield.

Bellfield killed 22-year-old Amelie Delagrange in 2004, and also 19-year-old Marsha McDonnell and 13-year-old Milly Dowler.

Speaking about the series, he told the Daily Mirror: “It’s not violence porn in any way. There’s no blood. It’s about dogged police work.

“There’s a duty to tell the story well and responsibly.”

But in doing so, Clunes, who will play detective Colin Sutton, has angered some victims’ and mental health charities.


“Using the term ‘violence porn’ isn’t the best choice of words to give this very sensitive subject the respect it deserves,” said TV presenter Anna Williamson, who also campaigns for mental health charity Mind.

“Martin Clunes’ comments could be seen as being crass and insensitive.”

Andy Langford from the charity Cruse Bereavement Care questioned whether the story needs to be told at all.

“This new series will unquestionably trigger some very difficult emotions for the families, friends and communities that were affected by these murders,” he said.

“We need to remember the people affected by these tragic deaths are still grieving.”

Bellfield will be played by actor Celyn Jones, while a spokesperson for ITV confirmed that the drama ‘shows no violence’.

“It focuses on the police work. As with all projects of this nature we are conscious of the feelings of the relatives of the victims and ­survivors of ­Bellfield’s crimes, which is why we contacted them and offered to tell them about our plans at an early stage,” ITV added.

Read more
Injured MacGyver stuntman out of coma
Mayim Bialik ‘feels weird’ about Big Bang Theory ending
Roseanne spin-off could ‘kill off’ her character