Responsibility of new Stephen Lawrence drama ‘weighed very heavily’

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The responsibility of getting a new drama on the murder of Stephen Lawrence right “weighed very heavily”, its executive producer has said.

The new three-part ITV programme, titled Stephen, is a sequel to the 1999 programme about the case titled The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence.

Steve Coogan will play DCI Clive Driscoll, who led the investigation that saw two of the killers finally convicted of murder 18 years later.

The Macpherson report published 10 years ago
Doreen and Neville Lawrence (Michael Stephens/PA)

The black teenager was killed in 1993 in a racist knife attack by white youths in south London.

Executive producer Mark Redhead said there was a “big responsibility” to tell the stories of Stephen’s parents Neville and Doreen Lawrence.

“That responsibility to get this right weighed very heavily on me, because it is Neville and Doreen’s lives,” he said.

“Like Baroness Lawrence does, I want something positive to emerge from the tragedy of Stephen’s death.

“I have the most incredible admiration for Doreen and Neville.

“It is remarkable how they have turned something so negative into a force for good.

“In terms of telling this story, it is really important that we try and shine light into dark corners and face those things.

“That’s part of the process of making this country a better place.

“It is something I care about very deeply as I think most people do.

“Most people share the values that we promulgate in the drama.”

Women in Film and TV Awards 2019 – London
Steve Coogan (Ian West/PA)

Coogan labelled his character as “a beacon of the honest, decent, hard-working, methodical policeman” and said the story is an important one to tell because it shows “that things can be achieved by a conscientious work ethic”.

“Lots of things are achieved that way, but they go uncelebrated because they appear to be undramatic and undynamic.

“It’s an acknowledgement of those people.”

He added: “I don’t often play decent people, I normally play people who are dysfunctional.

“And so, I wanted to play Clive.

“I wanted to play a decent person.”

Neville Lawrence said a “whole new generation of people need to know about the murder of my son and what followed after that”.

“There are also other families who have gone through the same thing we went through all those years ago and are still going through.

“We need to remind them so people can try and understand a little bit about the pain that families like us and lots and lots of other families who have lost loved ones in similar situations have suffered and are still suffering.”

Stephen airs on ITV on Monday at 9pm.

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