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ITV is releasing a new series about the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Stephen, which begins on Monday (31 August), will focus on the legacy of the racially motivated murder, which occurred in 1993.
In 1999, ITV released a film, directed by Paul Greengrass, which dramatised Lawrence’s murder, the fruitless police investigation that followed, and a subsequent cover-up. It was produced with the blessing and collaboration of Lawrence’s family.
Hugh Quarshie is the only actor to reprise his role – Stephen’s father, Neville – in the new series.
Below, we run through the cast and real-life counterparts behind the characters in the three-part series.
Doreen Lawrence – played by Sharlene Whyte
Baroness Doreen Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence. Together with her husband, Neville, she led an extraordinary campaign for justice, which resulted in a public inquiry that concluded the Metropolitan Police was institutionally racist.
In turn, they brought about sweeping changes in the law and police practices and transformed the thinking and understanding of racial inequality in the UK.
Doreen founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and, in 2003, was appointed to the Order of the British Empire for services to community relations. Speaking at the first national Stephen Lawrence Day on 22 April 2019, she described how she had worked for 26 years hoping for “an inclusive society for everyone to live their best life, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, disability or background”.
Reflecting on her son’s murder ahead of Stephen, Doreen told ITV: “It does still get very upsetting, how he was taken. If he had been ill or been involved in an accident that could not have been avoided... but when somebody deliberately goes out to take a life and then walks away as if it’s nothing. That’s always very hard to get over.”
Neville Lawrence – played by Hugh Quarshie
Dr Neville Lawrence is the father of Stephen Lawrence. Together with his wife, Doreen, he campaigned for justice after his son’s murder, resulting in the hugely significant public inquiry.
Speaking about the new series, Lawrence told ITV: “I sat here watching [it] and it was like me looking at myself. My eyes filled with tears. You’re looking at it thinking, ‘That’s me.’ It’s like you are looking at yourself in a mirror. Hugh Quarshie’s performance is outstanding. I had the pleasure of meeting him after the first film. He is a cool, no-nonsense person and portrays a character as if it’s him. This new drama is brilliant. I give everyone involved my congratulations. They have all done a wonderful job.”
He added: “A whole new generation of people need to know about the murder of my son and what followed after that.”
DCI Clive Driscoll – played by Steve Coogan
Working closely with the Lawrences, DCI Clive Driscoll put together an investigation that, more than 18 years later, secured the convictions of two of the gang members who committed the murder of Stephen.
Driscoll, whom Coogan consulted before filming the series, was retired by the Met in February 2014.
Stuart Lawrence – played by Jorden Myrie
Stuart Lawrence is the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence. He was 16 at the time of his murder and now serves as an educator and motivational speaker. He wrote the book Silence is Not an Option, in which he reflected on the killing of his brother and spoke about how he overcame the trauma in order to live his life in a positive manner.
Alongside his parents, he regularly campaigns for racial equality.
Georgina Lawrence – played by Yasmin Mwanza
At the time of her brother’s murder, Georgina Lawrence was 11. She is played in the series by Yasmin Mwanza (pictured above).
Duwayne Brooks – played by Richie Campbell
Duwayne Brooks was a friend of Stephen Lawrence’s who was with him the night he was murdered. Brooks, a former councillor in the London Borough of Lewisham, sought damages, citing negligence, for his treatment by the police in the wake of Lawrence’s killing; he was listed as a suspect as opposed to a witness. His claim was rejected.
Cressida Dick – played by Sian Brooke
Dame Cressida Rose Dick is a senior British Police Officer serving as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service since 2017. Dick is both the first female and first openly homosexual officer to lead the MET in London.
Speaking in 2020 about Lawrence’s murder case, Dick said: “The investigation has now moved to an ‘inactive’ phase, but I have given Stephen’s family the assurance that we will continue to deal with any new information that comes to light.
“The investigation into Stephen’s murder will also be periodically reviewed for any further investigative opportunities which may arise; for example, with advances in technology.
“Mr (Duwayne) Brooks, who was with Stephen on the night he died, has also been advised of the decision.
Imran Khan – played by Adil Ray
Pakistan-born solicitor Imran Khan had been working in the trade for just 18 months when he took on the case of Lawrence’s murder. He was awarded the rank of Queen’s Counsel in 2018.
‘Stephen’ begins on ITV on Monday (30 August) at 9pm