Stephen follows on from 1999’s movie-length The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, which I haven’t seen in full, but I am obviously aware of all the events that happened.
This three-part series is set in 2006, 13 years after his murder on April 22nd 1993, at the age of just 18. His killers escaped justice at the time, and an inquiry time found the Met Police to be “incompetent and institutionally racist” which has always been as clear as day. Sadly, the CPS felt there was no chance of prosecution.
Steve Coogan plays old-school cop DCI Clive Driscoll, who thinks the murder can be solved with some “common sense coppering”, and wants to start investigating from scratch because “we’re more than a match for a gang of racist thugs”, and they want to pick up on many things missed by forensics first time round.
Meanwhile, the IPCC tell Stephen’s mother, Doreen, that they’ll look into whether ex-DS John Davidson had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, father of suspect David Norris, and you’ll have your outcome for that within the first episode.
This time round, Hugh Quarshie reprises his role as Neville Lawrence, early on seen talking about thoughts of revenge and “an eye for an eye”, but that “The Lord says to turn the other cheek”, and how one doesn’t sit right with the other. But then, religion is made-up; while Marianne Jean-Baptiste isn’t in this, but the role of Doreen Lawrence is played by Sharlene Whyte.
Given that this is a three-parter, ITV have missed a trick to do their usual of broadcasting it over three nights and, instead, it’s on once a week on a Monday. In addition, the second episode of BBC’s new drama, Vigil, was on at the same time as Stephen’s opener (before Vigil returns to Sunday nights), so that’s also going to hinder this. They should’ve moved it on a week, and shown it over three nights.
After one episode this is interesting, but not essential viewing. No-one really feels like they’re pushing the boat out, which is a shame given the seriousness of the case. As such, gven the period, what stands out more to a tech-head like myself is the age of the technology, e.g. in 2006, evidence was recorded onto mini DV tapes rather than SD cards, today.
Having since watched episodes 2 and 3, they are better as they get stuck into the details of the case, but it’s just good, rather than exceptional in any form.
Stephen continues on on ITV on Monday September 6th at 9pm, and the entire series is now on the ITV Hub. It’s not available yet to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but The Murder of Stephen Lawrence can be seen on Britbox.
Episode 1: 6/10
Episode 2: 7/10
Episode 3: 7/10
Director: Alrick Riley
Producer: Madonna Baptiste
Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Mark Cottrell Boyce
Music: Segun Akinola
DCI Clive Driscoll: Steve Coogan
Doreen Lawrence: Sharlene Whyte
Neville Lawrence: Hugh Quarshie
Stuart Lawrence: Jorden Myrie
Georgina Lawrence: Yasmin Mwanza
Duwayne Brooks: Richie Campbell
Imran Khan: Adil Ray
Cressida Dick: Sian Brooke
DI Shaun Keep: Jonjo O’Neill
Angela Gallop: Nancy Carrol
Shaw: Stephen Dillane
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.