Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Will Mellor and Ralf Little give self-improvement a go in new factual entertainment series

Ralf Little and Will Mellor stand arm-in-arm in front of the sea

The four-part factual entertainment series will see the duo take on a series of challenges to try and improve their lives. The pair will dabble in spirituality and living off-grid – leaving everything at home, including toilet paper – to find if there’s a better way to do their forties.

Along the way, viewers will get to see what makes their bromance tick, and watch as both actors confront their fear of ageing.

ITV to explore fallout of Mr Bates vs The Post Office with new documentary

Toby Jones, as Alan Bates, stands outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Across four parts, the series told the true story of the more than 900 subpostmasters who were wrongfully prosecuted for stealing from the Post Office because of a faulty computer system called Horizon.

Bolstered by the likes of stars Toby Jones and Monica Dolan, the series so heart-rendingly humanised the horrific miscarriage of justice that, as of late-April, around 13.5 million people had tuned in.

ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill: the woman with the Midas touch

Polly Hill looks into the camera, wearing a black top

“My dad always told me you can change the world with drama, particularly new writing, and I would reply: ‘You can’t.’”

Polly Hill speaks fondly of her father, the veteran actor Dave Hill, whose long list of stage, film and TV credits testifies to his half-century in the business, and who used to take his teenage daughter weekly to the theatre for inspiration. “Then Mr Bates came along. My dad’s nearly 80 now, and he took delight in saying: ‘See, I told you.’”

The cast and crew of ITV's Mr Bates vs The Post Office share its creation story

Mr Bates vs the Post Office belongs to that handful of British TV dramas – think Cathy Come Home or Queer as Folk – that changed the world we live in, but the shocking truth is that it almost didn’t get made.

This was one of several remarkable insights shared with the RTS into the four-part ITV series that finally drew the public’s attention to what may be our broken nation’s gravest miscarriage of justice ever.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office Q&A with the cast and creators

Since its release in January 2024, Mr Bates vs The Post Office has already gained a viewership of over ten million and counting. But the ITV drama has done much more than just prove a ratings success; its retelling of the Post Office Horizon Scandal has stirred up so much public indignation that it's accelerated the cogs of justice for the wrongly accused postal staff.

Now, the creators of this remarkable series will pull back the curtain on how they brought this decades-long saga to screen, and reveal how drama can have the power to make lasting change in society.

How TV chipped away at Post Office lies

A scene of celebration outside the courts in the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office

Did Mr Bates vs the Post Office have you glued to your TV screen?” asked ITV on social media. The question – presumably rhetorical given the New Year drama’s colossal ratings – was plugging an archive clip of what seems to be the first TV news coverage, in English, of the UK’s biggest miscarriage of justice. “In English” is important.