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Sheridan Smith's true-crime drama has been delayed for surprising reason

Stephen Merchant plays Stephen Port in the upcoming show 

Emmy Griffiths

BBC's much-anticipated true-crime drama Four Lives had completed filming and was originally set to be released in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit - so why hasn't the show been given an airdate yet? 

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The series, starring Sheridan Smith and Logan star Stephen Merchant, looks at the investigation into the murders of several young men at the hands of Barking serial killer, Stephen Port. 

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While the series is still set to go ahead, HELLO! understands that the release date will be delayed as a forthcoming inquest into the deaths of Stephen Port's four victims was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

The inquest was intended to go ahead on January 9, but according to the Barking and Dagenham Post, the coroner postponed the start date due to the third lockdown. 

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Stephen plays the serial killer Stephen Port in the show

Speaking about the delay, solicitor Neil Hudgell, who represents the four families, said: "Anthony, Gabriel, Daniel and Jack were murdered between August 2014 and September 2015. Given the years that have passed, you can understand why the families are so disappointed by this delay

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"However, they understand the reasons and stand ready to assist the coroner with her inquiries when the inquest opens." Speaking about the series back in 2019, Stephen said: "This is a story that can’t be ignored - how four young lives were lost and their families’ brave attempt to uncover what happened. This factual drama will shed light on their story, so it’s a privilege to be a part of telling it with the brilliant combination of Jeff Pope, Neil McKay and the BBC." 

Writer Neil McKay added: "Four young men with their entire future ahead of them lost their lives in a brutal and tragic way. This is a story not only of the consequences of that loss but also of the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by those who loved them as they sought truth and justice. It is a privilege to be able to tell it."

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