Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E3&4/4), Monday 8th and Monday 15th May, ITV

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One of the series I’ve gotten a bit behind on is ITV’s four-part adaptation of a true crime, Little Boy Blue. For two episodes we’ve seen how 11-year-old boy Rhys Jones was shot senselessly in a car park in Croxteth, Liverpool in the summer of 2007; and how investigating officer DS Dave Kelly struggled to bring the teenage gang responsible for the killing to justice. It had been powerful and emotional thus far, but – being super-objective – had it been a decent drama? Yes. And no.  Continue reading

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Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E2/4), Monday 1st May, ITV

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Last week ITV’s new four-part adaptation of the tragic Rhys Jones story introduced us to both a family trying to come to terms with the overwhelming grief of losing an 11-year-old son to a seemingly random murder and a policeman in a temporary position tasked with bringing those who took the lad’s life to justice. We also met a gang of local youths drunk on the strength of their status as untouchables in and around Croxteth, convinced that their power within the community would help them to get away with the murder. Episode was a harrowing, uncomfortable watch, but it was sensitively staged and researched. More of the same in episode two. Continue reading

Review: Little Boy Blue (S1 E1/4), Monday 24th April, ITV

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And so we come to our post-Broadchurch, Monday-night crime watch. Whereas the final, third series of Broadchurch managed to present a harrowing case of sexual assault with sensitivity and a great deal of procedural realism, almost to the point of documentary style, it has nothing on an actual true story. And this is what Little Boy Blue is – an adapted drama made with the consent of a murdered 11-year-old boy’s family, whose story and tragedy deeply touched and saddened a nation a decade ago. Anything that is based on real-life events makes me nervous (Will it do justice to the victim? Will it do justice to the family of the victim? What is the point of telling the story?), so I approached this with trepidation and a little nervousness.

NB. Spoilers inside Continue reading

ITV confirms transmission date for Little Boy Blue

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A few months ago we saw the BBC’s attempt to bring to life a harrowing true-life crime story – that of the Shannon Matthews disappearance – and now ITV is getting in on the act. True crime stories are always fraught with difficulty and come with potential controversy – how do you depict things that are still so raw for a lot of people? The last time ITV did a true crime story (Jimmy Nesbitt’s excellent The Secret and Martin Compston’s In Plain Sight) the former was actually discussed in British Parliament because of an outcry from one of the victim’s family. The Moorside attracted a lot of attention, and I’m expecting ITV’s latest true crime adaptation, Little Boy Blue, to also provoke intense discussion. But at least we now know when it’s on… Continue reading