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BBC Drama Responsible Child Based On True Story Of Boy Tried For Murder

BBC Drama Responsible Child Based On True Story Of Boy Tried For Murder

If you love yourself a crime drama, especially one based on real events, then BBC 2 is the place for you tomorrow night.

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Responsible Child follows 12-year-old Ray and his 23-year-old brother Nathan who are arrested and charged with murdering their abusive stepfather.

Despite only being on the cusp of adolescence, Ray is tried in an adult court, as the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is only 10. The 90-minute drama raises questions about the criminal age of responsibility and explores the circumstances surrounding the murder and the affect of the trial on Ray.

A synopsis reads: "Ray (Billy Barratt) and his 23 year-old brother Nathan (James Tarpey) are arrested after stabbing their mother's partner. Whatever the circumstances that have led a child to kill, the law is clear: the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10, and at 12 years old, Ray must stand trial in an adult court.

"Based on a true story and told in two time frames, the film follows both the events that led up to the murder and the unfolding drama of the trial, taking us inside a young boy's experience of the legal system and asking powerful questions about responsibility and redemption."

Responsible Child is based on a true story. Credit: BBC
Responsible Child is based on a true story. Credit: BBC
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The drama is based on the 2014 case of Jerome Ellis, 14, and his brother Joshua, 23, who murdered their stepfather in a knife attack as he lay on the sofa.

Both siblings stated that their stepfather was abusive and had previously threatened to kill Joshua, who struggled with depression.

BAFTA-winning documentary maker and director of Responsible Child, Nick Holt, said he has been wanting to tell this story since he attended the trial of the Ellis brothers.

He said: "Whilst making The Murder Trial, I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder.

"It's an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. 10 is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"This is a story I've wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I'm delighted to be working with Kudos [production company] and the BBC."

The drama features a lot of familiar faces. Credit: BBC
The drama features a lot of familiar faces. Credit: BBC

The cast includes the likes of Game of Thrones' Michelle Fairley, The History Boys actor Stephen Campbell Moore, Killing Eve's Owen McDonnell and Top Boy actor Shaun Dingwall, and is written by Skins' Sean Buckley.

Responsible Child will air on Monday, 16 December at 9pm on BBC2.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: TV and Film, UK Entertainment

Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University, where he learnt a bit about media and a lot about living without heating. After spending a few years in Australia and New Zealand, Jake secured a role at an obscure radio station in Norwich, inadvertently becoming a real-life Alan Partridge in the process. From there, Jake became a reporter at the Eastern Daily Press. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.