There are very few stories that have had us re-considering our dating practices quite like the story of ‘Grindr Killer’ Stephen Port who was found guilty of killing four young men he met through the app. It’s been announced that his story is going to become a BBC drama with comedian Stephen Merchant portraying Port, alongside West End darling Sheridan Smith.
The 46-year-old convicted murderer was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of sexual offences against seven living victims, and murder four young men. Daniel Whitworth (21), Anthony Walgate (23), Gabriel Kovari (22) and Jack Taylor (25) were all drugged and raped by Port. He made contact with his victims through popular sex apps, then plying them with drinks spiked with fatal dosages of GHB in order to take advantage of them when unconscious.
Their bodies were dumped near his London flat. Following the murders he covered up as best he could, lying to police, disposing of their mobile phones and even planted a fake suicide note in the hand of one of his victims.
When the story was covered in BBC Three documentary The Grindr Killer: Stephen Port’s Murders what came to light were the accusations of police negligence in handling the case, with Scotland Yard failing to link Port to all four murders despite their similarities. It was only after the death of his final victim, whose family urged police to reconsider previous deaths, that a full investigation was launched, leading many to believe that he should have been reprimanded sooner.
The story is to become a drama titled The Barking Murders coming to BBC One, with filming commencing this spring. Stephen Merchant, who rose to fame as a comedy actor and stand-up, is set to play the Port with Sheridan Smith playing the mother of Anthony Walgate, one of Port’s victims.
In talking about her upcoming part in the BBC drama, Smith shared:
“I love playing real-life characters – especially an inspirational woman like Sarah Sak – but with it comes responsibility. Along with the other families, Sarah went through so much heartache and it would have been easy for her to just accept what she was being told by the police, but something inside made her keep fighting for her son.”
The series will take the point of view of Prot’s victim’s families who worked tirelessly to uncover the truth behind what happened to his victims and their push within the now widely-criticised police investigation.