True Crime

Libby, Are You Home Yet?: The ethics behind true crime

What Lisa [Squire] wanted was for us to get this message across: you should always report non-contact sexual offences. Because it does make a difference.” Candour Productions’ Anna Hall was speaking at an RTS Yorkshire event on 31 January – five years to the day that Squire’s daughter Libby was abducted, raped and murdered in Hull.

Just how this reporting makes a difference becomes clear during Humberside Police’s hunt for Libby’s killer, in Candour’s powerful Bafta-winning, three-part series Libby, Are You Home Yet?.

The ethics of true crime in television

The Christmas before last, you might have expected the most streamed programme in the UK to be The Holiday or Elf. In fact, it was My Lover My Killer, the Netflix series exploring the cases of murder victims who meet tragic ends after relationships turn deadly. It’s not typical festive fare, but testament to the mushrooming market for true crime, via TV – both factual and drama – as well as podcasts and, increasingly, TikTok.

Juno Dawson to adapt Eliza Clark’s Penance for Altitude Television

Before she’d even finished reading the novel, bestselling author Juno Dawson approached Clark to adapt it for television.

Clark, who was just named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists of 2023, became more widely known after her first novel Boy Parts went viral on TikTok, causing it to become a ‘BookTok’ hit.

W receives first true crime series commission from UKTV

The logo for TV channel W, namely a white 'W' against a slanted red rectangle

The eight-episode programme will detail the exploits of digital manipulators, using first-person testimony from the people they targeted. Catfishing, gaslighting and deception all take centre-stage, as the show explores the darker side of dating sites and online messaging. 

Produced by First Look TV, the hour-long programme delves into several of the tools used by manipulators, from love bombing to mirroring to breadcrumbing. 

Charlie Brooker on commandeering Black Mirror, his TV inspiration and why series six won't involve NFTs

Anjana Vasan in Black Mirror episode Demon 79. Credit:Netflix.

At one point in his book Inside Black Mirror, when discussing the inspiration for his global dystopian sci-fi phenomenon, Charlie Brooker credits the “shiny adverts for Apple” that were appearing at the time. He says: “Being a paranoid person, as soon as I see any advert where everyone’s really happy and smiley, I immediately think it’s a bit like a sinister advert in a dystopian movie.… The fact that it looked so happy meant that it couldn’t last.”

Anna Maxwell-Martin and Shaun Evans to star in true crime drama for ITV

When Delia Balmer first met John Sweeney in a Camden pub in 1991, there was no way of knowing the kind of monster he was. Affable and charming, she was immediately drawn to his creative, free-spirited nature, and they began a romantic relationship.

This magnetism quickly faded: John Sweeney was a psychopathic serial killer.

Anna Maxwell-Martin (Motherland) will star as Delia Balmer, whilst Shaun Evans (Endeavour) takes the mantle of John Sweeney.

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.