Showtrial: is it based on a true story?

The BBC’s new six-part drama Showtrial is well underway and has the nation gripped by its compelling plot. But now viewers are wondering, is the series based on true events?

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From the producers of Line of Duty and Vigil, the highly-anticipated series follows the trial of Talitha Campbell, a privileged university student and estranged daughter of a wealthy property developer, who is a prime suspect after the murder of a fellow student.

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When the son of a senior Westminster politician also becomes a suspect in the case, the trial that follows places the victim and accused – and their families – in the eye of a media storm. Into that storm enters Cleo Roberts, played by Tracy Ifeachor, the duty solicitor on the night of Talitha’s arrest.

Is Showtrial based on a true story?

No, Showtrial is not based on a true story, however, the plot is inspired by real issues facing today’s justice system. The series explores how prejudice, politics and the media distort the legal process.

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The series creator Ben Richards explained: "The right to a fair trial and the idea of reasonable doubt lie at the heart of a civilised society. Showtrial explores how they can be distorted by other factors, in a world where concepts such as fairness, doubt and reason are afforded such diminishing value."


Tracy Ifeachor and Celine Buckens star in the series

Creative Director, Simon Heath, also commented on Ben’s inspiration for the show. He said: "It’s great to be working again with Ben Richards, who uses the DNA of our true crime obsession to create a gripping fictional murder trial that shines a light on the failings of our justice system."

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Who stars in the series?

Tracy Ifeachor plays Cleo Roberts, the duty solicitor on call the night of Talitha’s arrest. Playing Talitha Campbell is Celine Buckens who viewers may recognise from Netflix’s Free Rein. Little Boy Blue’s Sinéad Keenan plays DI Paula Cassidy, while Joseph Payne plays Dhillon Harwood, frienTracy Ifeachord to Talitha and a suspect of the crime.


Little Boy Blue’s Sinéad Keenan plays DI Paula Cassidy

Lolita Chakrabarti, Christopher Hatherall, Kerr Logan, James Frain and Claire Lams also star in the series.

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