It’s difficult viewing but undoubtedly important in its exploration of heartbreaking tragedy.

Every now and again, a TV drama arrives to shake you completely. 

There’s no doubt that the main reason we watch films and TV series is to be entertained, but we also flock to certain titles to learn. Documentaries can open our eyes, but so can dramatisations. Every day we witness shocking, compelling and unbelievable news stories – many of them linger.

Lots of real-life stories deserve to be brought to the screen, to communicate a message and to inform more widespread audiences of the events which occurred. The success of Netflix series Mindhunter is a great example, which depicts a number of twisted minds, telling us about a sad history in the process. Arguably, it’s just as crucial to explore human tragedies in the media as it is achievements.

The latest to make a mark is drama series A Confession, which has begun to paint a haunting portrait of the case surrounding the murder of Sian O’Callaghan. 

A Confession on ITV 

This new series began airing on ITV on Monday, September 2nd 2019 at 9 pm, immediately attracting the attention of emotional audiences. 

It comes from Jeff Pope, who serves as A Confession’s writer and executive-producer; he has worked on the likes of Hatton Garden, Little Boy Blue, Philomena and the recent Laurel and Hardy biopic, 2018’s Stan & Ollie. It would appear he’s done yet another impressive job here, but the material is certainly hard to swallow. 

In the cast, we have Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Black Panther) in the central role, as well as Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) and more. 

It’s based on the horrifying case of Sian O’Callaghan’s murder, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared from Swindon, Wiltshire in 2011. 

Where was Sian O’Callaghan found?

A Confession takes a compelling look at the heartbreaking case which ended in tragedy. 

According to Wikipedia, Sian was last seen at a nightclub early March 19th 2011, with her body being found on March 24th that same year near Uffington in Oxfordshire. It was on October 19th 2012 that 48-year-old Christopher Halliwell pleaded guilty to her murder, after being charged two days after the discovery of her body. 

As highlighted in a piece written by The Guardian, Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher’s determination managed a response from Halliwell and “…led them to the prehistoric White Horse in Uffington, further up the Ridgeway in Oxfordshire” and then her whereabouts. 

In 2012, Halliwell was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of twenty-five years; he initially pleaded not guilty just months before. The murderer also led them to the body of Becky Godden-Edwards who was reported missing in 2007, and he was charged with the shocking crime in 2016, subsequently leading to life imprisonment with a whole life order, which essentially means it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever be released. 

How many episodes?

A Confession is a six-part drama series, with episodes airing weekly – same place same time. 

It’s already attracted a lot of praise, particularly for Martin Freeman’s performance as Steve Fulcher, who basically sacrificed his job to ensure he did all in his power to catch those responsible for the murders. 

The Wikipedia page highlights that he resigned from Wiltshire Police in May 2014, with Karen Edwards – Becky’s mother – saying: “Had he have followed the guidelines, then Becky would never have been found, she would have never have come into the equation.”

It’s harrowing viewing, but it’s possibly one of the most imperative series of 2019. 

In other news, have you seen the Inside Bill’s Brain trailer yet?