Stephen stars and creators on filming the harrowing reconstruction scene

Stephen stars and creators on filming the harrowing reconstruction scene
Episode one includes a shocking sequence where police re-enact the murder

The first episode of the ITV drama Stephen included a harrowing scene in which police officers investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence re-enacted his killing.

The 18-year-old was murdered by racist thugs at a London bus stop in 1993. His killing, and the bungled police investigation that followed, were dramatised in the 1999 film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence. ITV’s series is a sequel to that film, which portrays events from 2006, following his parents’ extraordinary campaign for justice that led to a public inquiry, which in turn declared the Metropolitan Police institutionally racist.

It also brought about sweeping changes in the law and police practices, and transformed thinking and understanding of racial inequality in the UK.

The technical reconstruction (which happened in real life), is shown in episode one of Stephen. It sees Black police officer Theo Bannister (Jude Cudjoe) play Lawrence and DI Shaun Keep (Jonjo O’Neill) play one of the men who attacked him, in order to gauge how long the incident would have taken, and therefore how much forensic evidence could be found on the suspects’ clothing.

Speaking about how difficult the scene was to film, Coogan, whose character DCI Clive Driscoll oversaw the investigation and the reconstruction, said: “It affects you deeply. In some ways the understatement of it, the mechanical, dispassionate way it’s enacted and recreated, somehow accentuates the horror of it and the inhumanity of the violence because of the clinical way it is displayed.”

The show’s executive producer, Mark Redhead, added: “Even though it is just people doing a reconstruction without any weapons in a well lit room, it is really very disturbing. An extraordinary scene and really upsetting.”

The resconstruction of the killing in ‘Stephen’

Producer Madonna Baptiste, meanwhile, described watching the rushes as “heartbreaking” because they were a reconstruction of the teenager’s last moments.

Stephen continues on Mondays at 9pm on ITV. Read more about the case, and the Bafta-winning film that was made about it in 1999, here.

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