Popular UK true-crime drama ‘Manhunt’ gives police work its due

The US premiere of “Manhunt” gives American TV viewers the chance to see one in all many largest true-crime dramas in British TV historic previous.

The three-episode assortment, starring Martin Clunes (“Doc Martin”) — and now streaming on Acorn TV — relies on the memoirs of Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton (Clunes), who methodically hunted down British serial killer Levi Bellfield in 2004.

“Manhunt” averaged 9 million viewers on ITV when it aired in January and was the UK’s highest-rated new drama since “Broadchurch” in 2013. It moreover wasn’t far behind the drama assortment “Bodyguard,” which averaged 10 million viewers over six episodes on BBC One last summer time season with stars Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes.

Clunes has some experience with onscreen serial killers. He carried out England’s “Acid Bath Murderer” in a 2002 assortment known as “A Is for Acid” (for Yorkshire TV) and says there’s a goal that “Manhunt” focuses on Sutton — and by no means on Bellfield, convicted of killing Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delegrange and for attempting to kill Kate Sheedy. He’s serving life in jail.

“We wanted to show more about how crimes get solved, rather than enigmatic people wandering around staring out of windows,” says Clunes, alluding to detectives in several police procedurals. “It’s a number of arduous work — an horrible lot of people working very arduous doing very boring police work and that was the story we wished to tell. Telling the story inside the technique of [the BBC’s] ‘Luther’ [starring Idris Elba] or any of those reveals was certainly not our intention.

“Colin [Sutton] is a tremendous man,” he says. “When I first met him, I said he seems further like an accountant than a detective. He’s merely an odd, terribly first charge particular person and a very good policeman.

“Manhunt” was produced by Clunes’ partner, Philippa Braithwaite and written by Sutton and Ed Whitmore.

‘We wanted to show more about how crimes get solved, rather than enigmatic people wandering around staring out of windows.’

“When Philippa was developing [‘Manhunt’] I would hear about it,” he says. “It wasn’t primarily meant for me because of I’ve on a regular basis said I’m supplied pretty various detective-type roles over time and I didn’t want to do them because of I don’t watch [detective dramas] or really like them.

“But the extra I considered Colin and this case it kind of seduced me,” he says. “The state of the British TV detective is to spend more time with the murderer and the murdered and not the [investigation],” he says. “So we were concerned about telling that story because we were basing it on Colin Sutton’s journal and his memoirs — and that was very much the story we wanted to tell.”

Clunes says he spent a number of time with Sutton, attending to know him and his police methodology. “When Gary Oldman played Winston Churchill in [the movie] ‘Churchill’ he was under a whole load of makeup to make him look a lot like Churchill,” Clunes says. “We didn’t go that route — but somewhere there’s a Polaroid photo of Colin and I on the set standing next to each other in equally bad knitwear laughing and looking very similar.”

He’s requested if there was any thought given to extending “Manhunt” previous three episodes.

“Yes, we were desperate to do that,” he says. “But ITV are our customers and they just wanted three [episodes]. There’s always a casualty when you shorten or condense something. I have regrets about what we couldn’t fit in, but it did work well in that three-act structure.”

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