True Crime

Why We Love True Crime Television

An RTS panel explores why we love true crime television and the genre's enduring success.


Jo Clinton Davis, Controller of Popular Factual for ITV and commissioner of shows including An Hour to Catch a Killer with Trevor Mcdonald and the Crime and Punishment strand

Helen Tonge, Managing Director & Executive Producer of Manchester based production company. Title Role TV,  producer of Crimes That Shook Britain

Why true crime television pays

(Credit: Shutterstock)

The country is in the grip of an escalating crime wave, yet the public can’t get enough of it. Viewers used to get their vicarious thrills from fictional detective drama – now we are becoming fixated on real-life serial killers and violent psychopaths. 

This autumn, True Crime on Channel 4 is set to join the Channel 4 family – and go up against two existing bespoke true-crime channels, A+E Networks UK’s Crime + Investigation and Sky Crime. 

TV picks: True crime

The Assassination of Gianni Versace and Tiger King (Credit: BBC and Netflix)

Here are our top picks.


The Central Park Five 

Amazon Prime

This documentary examines the case of The Central Park Five, which was recently turned into a Netflix drama miniseries called When They See Us.

The shocking and heartbreaking documentary tells the story of a 28-year-old white female jogger, Trisha Meili, who was beaten, raped and left for dead in New York’s Central Park in 1989.

Five young black and Latino boys aged 14-16 years old were accused and convicted of the crime.

Psychologists look inside the minds of serial killers at Making a Monster screening and Q&A

From left: Karen Robinson, Dr Julian Boon, Dr Samantha Lundrigan and Prof Paul Britton (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Murderers – even serial killers – are made, not born. This is the thesis of new Crime+Investigation series Making a Monster, which offers a fresh take on the increasingly popular true-crime genre.

The series elicits the views of leading psychologists, interwoven with dramatic reconstructions, as it revisits the crimes of notorious killers, who include Rose West, Levi Bellfield and Aileen Wuornos.

Screening and Q&A of Making a Monster | Full video

Experts Dan Korn, VP Programming at A+E Networks UK, Dr Julian Boon, Chartered Forensic Psychologist at University of Leicester, Professor Paul Britton, Criminal Profiler at Birmingham City University and Dr Samantha Lundrigan, Investigative Criminal Psychologist at Anglia Ruskin University, discuss the psychology of serial killers at the screening and Q&A of crime series Making a Monster.

Experts delve into the psychology of serial killers during a panel discussion of crime series Making a Monster

Criminal profiler Professor Paul Britton was speaking at an exclusive screening of Crime+Investigation’s Making a Monster, ahead of its broadcast in February. He is one of the experts featured in a new eight-part series that explores the psychology of serial killers.
The first episode takes Gloucester mass murderer Rose West, now serving a life sentence in Wakefield Prison, as its subject. It makes for grim but illuminating viewing.