Stephen, the follow-up to the award-winning single drama (repeated Thursday 16th July on ITV) has been given the full support of Stephen Lawrence's parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence.
The new three-part sequel will portray events from 2006, thirteen years after Stephen’s death on the evening of 22 April 1993 in a racially motivated attack whilst waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham.
Even though the Lawrences knew the identity of their son’s killers, the original investigation had failed to convict those responsible, and their extraordinary campaign for justice led to a public inquiry which branded Metropolitan Police institutionally racist and brought about sweeping changes in the law and police practices and transformed thinking and understanding of racial inequality in the UK.
Yet six years on from the Inquiry no progress had been made into the case. The drama tells the story of the ongoing struggle by Doreen and Neville Lawrence to achieve justice and how a detective, DCI Clive Driscoll – working closely with the Lawrences – puts together an investigation that finally – more than 18 years after his death – secures the convictions of two of the gang who committed the murder of Stephen.
Speaking about the new drama, Baroness Doreen Lawrence said "I am pleased that The Murder of Stephen Lawrence is being broadcast again. Though the events portrayed in the film took place many years ago they are even more relevant today. I am aware that the experience of police racism that we suffered as a family has been the experience of many in the UK."
"I hope that the film and the drama which has been commissioned will provide some insight into what we went through and give some hope to others that justice can eventually prevail.”
Whilst Neville Lawrence added "I welcome the announcement of this new TV series by ITV, made with members of the same team who wrote and produced the 1999 original drama. That first film was important in telling Stephen’s story. It is important that the next part of the story is told, particularly at a time when, thanks to the Black Lives Matter campaign, concerns around institutional racism are so prominent."
“The recent BLM protests have served to remind people that black men and women continue to be subjected to racially motivated attacks. It was true when Stephen was killed and it still happens. It has always been my view that the most powerful response to racism is non-violent resistance and I am heartened to see people from all backgrounds who have come together peacefully across the country to show they will not tolerate racist attitudes. I hope this new film will further help raise awareness.”
Stephen has been written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Joe Cottrell Boyce, will be directed by Alrick Riley and will be produced by Madonna Baptiste. Mark Redhead who produced the original drama in 1999 will executive produce the new series alongside Paul Greengrass, the award-winning screenwriter and director, who wrote and directed The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Jimmy Mulville and Jed Mercurio will also serve as executive producers for HTM (Hat Trick Mercurio), the production company set up by Hat Trick with Line of Duty showrunner Jed Mercurio.
ITV's Head of Drama Polly Hill said “It feels appropriate for us to return to the Stephen Lawrence case on ITV. The brilliant film, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, could only take the story so far, Stephen continues that story. It’s important to remember just how long it took Doreen and Neville to get a conviction for two of the men responsible for the death of their son Stephen. Frank and Joe have written beautiful scripts and I am delighted to have Alrick on board to direct this important drama.”
Casting and news of further key production personnel will be advised closer to filming commencing.
The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, written and directed by Paul Greengrass and produced by Mark Redhead will be repeated on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 16 July and will be followed by Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain changed? a live discussion programme.
Stephen will air on ITV