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Timothy Spall and Anne Reid lead new BBC One drama The Sixth Commandment

They'll star alongside Éanna Hardwicke, Annabel Scholey and Sheila Hancock in this new four-part drama from writer Sarah Phelps.

Filming has begun on The Sixth Commandment which explores the deaths of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, and the extraordinary events that unfolded over the following years.

The Sixth Commandment tells the story of how the meeting of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar, played by Timothy Spall, and a charismatic student, Ben Field, played by Éanna Hardwicke, set the stage for one of the most complex and confounding criminal cases in recent memory.

It also focuses on how suspicions around Field’s relationship with Ann Moore-Martin, played by Anne Reid, Peter’s deeply religious neighbour, unlocked a series of chilling revelations.

The new drama explores the way in which both Peter and Ann were manipulated by Field, capturing the extreme gaslighting, the gripping police investigation and the high-profile trial. While poignantly highlighting the devastating effect of isolation and loneliness, as Field closed in on them, it also celebrates both Peter and Ann’s lives as cherished mentors, much loved relatives and adored friends.

Speaking about taking on the role of Peter, Timothy Spall said "When I received Sarah Phelps’ brilliant scripts I knew this was an essential story to tell. I am honoured to be playing the remarkable Peter Farquhar and hope I do him justice, which is the very least he deserves."

On playing Ann, Anne Reid said "I found the story of the Sixth Commandment extremely disturbing and I feel a great sense of responsibility in portraying this good, kind, trusting woman, Ann, who was so cruelly deceived."

To which Éanna Hardwicke added "It is a privilege to join the brilliant cast and creative team behind The Sixth Commandment. I've long been a fan of Sarah's writing and Saul Dibb's filmmaking and I know they are the people to tell this heart-breaking story with sensitivity and depth."

"Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin nourished the lives of many in their time and Sarah's writing beautifully draws out the richness of their lives and the positive impact they had while exploring the callousness and cruelty brought into their home by someone they trusted. I'm mindful and appreciative of the confidence of Peter's and Ann's families in trusting us with their stories."

Written by Sarah Phelps, and produced by Wild Mercury Productions and True Vision Productions, the cast also includes Annabel Scholey, Sheila Hancock, Ben Bailey Smith, Conor MacNeill, Adrian Rawlins and Amanda Root.

Speaking about The Sixth Commandment, writer and Executive Producer Sarah Phelps said "I wouldn’t have been able to write this without the help, support and insights of Peter and Ann’s families. I’m so appreciative of the trust they placed in me to tell the stories of their loved ones. I’m thrilled that we have such an astonishing cast and phenomenal team of creatives, led by our director Saul Dibb, to bring my scripts to life."

Executive Producer for Wild Mercury Productions, Derek Wax said "This is a powerful and emotionally complex story, and Sarah Phelps has invested her scripts with extraordinary detail, nuance and passion. I’m thrilled that we have assembled such a strong cast and a brilliant director in Saul Dibb to bring it to life."

To which Executive Producer for True Vision Productions, Brian Woods added "Drama has the ability to explore the emotional truth beneath the headlines. From the outset we have been working with the families of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin and we hope that The Sixth Commandment will illuminate their experiences and most of all, honour the lives of Peter and Ann."

The Sixth Commandment is being made in full cooperation with Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin’s families with filming taking place in and around Bristol and Bath.

The Sixth Commandment will air on BBC One

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