Steve Coogan's ITV drama Stephen gets huge praise for "powerful" debut

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Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV
Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV

Steve Coogan's new drama Stephen has earned huge praise following its "powerful" debut on ITV on Monday (August 30).

The three-parter, which is a sequel to Paul Greengrass' 1999 film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, sees Sharlene Whyte (Small Axe) take over from original actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste, in bringing Stephen's mother Doreen to life, while Hugh Quarshie (Holby City) reprises the role of his father, Neville.

The show takes place in 2006, thirteen years on from Stephen's actual death on April 22, 1993, when he was targeted in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham.

Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV
Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV

Related: Stephen producer discusses Doreen and Neville Lawrence's reaction to the drama

Coogan, who is perhaps best known for playing comedy character Alan Partridge, stars as DCI Clive Driscoll, who put together an investigation that eventually – more than 18 years after Stephen's passing – led to the convictions of two members of the gang that assaulted him.

Expectedly, Monday's premiere garnered quite the reaction on social media, as viewers took to their timelines to congratulate writers Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions) and Joe Cottrell Boyce (Treasure), as well as the series' cast and crew, for their "eye-opening" retelling of the real-life story.

Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV
Photo credit: Hat Trick - ITV

Related: Sharlene Whyte on ITV's Stephen: "It's harrowing, but it's a story that needs to be told"

"The Stephen Lawrence drama is exceptional so far. The strength of the family is astounding," one Twitter user wrote, as another said: "The acting in #Stephen was superb, particularly the actors who took on the roles of Stephen Lawrence's parents. Very moving."

"Hard watch, but a worthwhile one. What happened is just beyond comprehension… Stephen and his family deserved so much better," a third added.

Check out some more reactions to the first episode below...

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Stephen continues on ITV.

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