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The harrowing true story behind the BBC's new drama Sherwood

Creator James Graham grew up in the area

sherwood true story
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
14 June 2022
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Sherwood is the BBC's latest gripping drama which tells the true story of a double murder which took place in Nottingham in 2004 and subsequently sparked a massive manhunt. 

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"As suspicion and antipathy build - both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town - the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners' strike three decades before," reads the BBC synopsis. 

WATCH: Are you watching the new drama? 

The series is inspired by two real murders that took place in the area in which creator and executive producer James Graham grew up. It also looks into the Met Police's response to the killings and how they reignited tensions in the local community which dated back to the '80s miner strikes.

In 2004, 42-year-old Robert Boyer murdered former miner Keith Frogson, 62, by shooting him with a crossbow before attacking him with a sword. 11 days later, Terry Rodgers, 55, killed his 23-year-old daughter Chanel Taylor by shooting her four times.

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Both killers fled to the local area's woods, near the village of Annesley Woodhouse, after committing the murders and hid from the police for weeks. 

sherwood david lesley robert© Photo: BBC

The series is inspired by two real murders

Terry managed to evade the police for almost three weeks by living in a makeshift shelter in the woods but was found a day after Robert was discovered. 600 police officers were involved in the search. 

Terry went on hunger strike after being sent to Lincoln Prison and died in February 2006 before his trial. He never offered an explanation as to why he killed his daughter. 

Meanwhile, Robert pleaded guilty to manslaughter, with Prosecutor Andrew Easteal telling the court: "He had convinced himself that Keith Frogson was trying to dismantle his house brick by brick, that acid was being thrown at the brickwork and that a screwdriver had been used to chip away at the brick.

"He had developed a fixation with Mr Frogson. He was obsessed with the idea that Mr Frogson was persecuting him and trying to damage his home."

sherwood perry phillip© Photo: BBC

The show's creator grew up within the community

Robert was initially sent to jail before being given an indefinite hospital order. 

Speaking about the true story behind the series, James said: "The events that in part inspired the series, a double killing that happened in my community and the impact that those awful crimes had on people who were already dealing with so much, felt like something that should not be denied, and the effects explored."

He continued: "The absolute irony of all the events colliding seemed incredible. By that, I mean a lot of the tensions in these mining villages from 1984 and the miners’ strike and the subsequent presence of the police, particularly the Metropolitan Police being deployed, were still felt. 

"Then 20 years later a double killing in a normally quiet community led that same MET force to come back into these villages, and had a huge impact on the fabric of the community."

Sherwood continues on Tuesday 14 June on BBC One at 9pm.

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