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Mr Bates vs The Post Office: where are Alan Bates, Jo Hamilton and Lee Castleton now?

The ITV drama tells the shocking true story of the Post Office scandal


Toby Jones, Monica Dollan and Will Mellor in Mr Bates vs The Post Office© ITV
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
January 3, 2024
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Mr Bates vs The Post Office tells the heartbreaking true story of hundreds of subpostmasters who were wrongly accused of theft, fraud, and false accounting by the Post Office. The series shines a light on the victims who were impacted by the scandal, including Alan Bates [Toby Jones], Jo Hamilton [Monica Dolan], and Lee Castleton [Will Mellor].

But where are they now? Keep reading for all we know…

WATCH: Alan Bates reveals what he really thinks of ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Alan Bates

The ITV drama focuses mainly on the story of Alan Bates, a former subpostmaster from Wales who was falsely accused of theft by the Post Office. 

Alan, along with his partner Suzanne Sercombe, bought a Post Office branch in Llandudno, North Wales, in 1998. 

The following year, the Post Office introduced a new IT system, Horizon. Glitches in the accounting software caused discrepancies worth thousands of pounds, and by the end of 2000, Alan noticed a shortage of £6,000 on the system.

Alan Bates at home with is partner Suzanne Sercombe
© ALAMY
Alan Bates with his partner Suzanne Sercombe

After looking into the problem, Alan realised that there were batches of duplicated transactions that made up the missing amount. After rectifying the problem, he notified the Post Office but heard nothing back.

In 2003, Alan's contract was terminated after the Post Office claimed that £1,200 was unaccounted for at his branch. 

Over two decades, Alan fought tirelessly for justice and drove the campaign to expose the scandal and bring the Post Office to justice. 

Alan Bates© ALAMY
Alan spent two decades fighting for justice

In 2018, Alan, alongside five other lead claimants, took the Post Office to the High Court in a Group Litigation Order (GLO). The following year, a judge ruled that postmasters were prosecuted based on data from the defective Horizon IT system. 

Alan is now retired but continues to fight for justice and offer a voice to people affected by the scandal. 

After receiving a Pride of Britain Award in 2023, Alan said: "At 68, I would love to be able to take my foot off the pedal. But I will stay involved until everyone from the original group who is entitled to compensation receives the full financial redress they're eligible for. Once everyone's received their money, I'll feel I've done my bit."

Toby Jones as Alan Bates and Julie Hesmondhalgh as Suzanne© ITV STUDIOS
Toby Jones as Alan Bates and Julie Hesmondhalgh as Suzanne in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Alan was also recommended for an OBE last year for his campaign work but turned it down. He said he felt it was inappropriate to accept it when Paula Vennells, the former CEO of the Post Office, still retains her CBE for services to the Post Office.

"I couldn't accept it, it would have been a slap in the face for the rest of the group because Paula Vennells, the CEO for many years of Post Office, received a CBE for her services to Post Office," he said on Good Morning Britain. "Well, what service has she actually done?"

Jo Hamilton

Jo Hamilton was one of many subpostmistresses convicted of a crime she didn't commit thanks to a shortfall showing at her branch in South Warnborough, Hampshire.

Jo, who became a subpostmistress in 2003, first suspected that the shortfalls were down to her own mistakes and began to pay off the missing amounts using her own money. To keep up with the shortfalls, Jo was forced to remortgage her house twice and ended up falling into debt. 

Jo Hamilton© ALAMY/ITV
Jo Hamilton now works as a cleaner

Jo, now 66, was accused of stealing £36,000 and went to court in 2008. After entering a plea bargain, she accepted a lesser charge of false accounting and agreed to pay the money back. While she didn't go to prison, she was sentenced a community order. 

After selling her shop, Jo began working as a cleaner – a job she still does now. 

Monica Dolan as Jo in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

© ITV STUDIOS
Monica Dolan as Jo in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

In 2009, the former subpostmistress joined the fight for justice after meeting Alan, and 12 years later, in 2021, her conviction was quashed. 

MORE: Alan Bates reveals what he really thinks of ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Lee Castleton

Former subpostmaster Lee Castleton went bankrupt following a two-year legal battle with the Post Office.

Within a year of owning his east Yorkshire post office, which he purchased with his wife Lisa in 2003, Lee found a shortfall of £25,000 on his computer system. 

Despite calling the helpline 91 times after suspecting a fault in the IT system, he received no help. 

Lee Castleton with fellow former post office worker Noel Thomas celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, after their convictions wer overturned by the Court of Appeal.© Yui Mok - PA Images
Lee Castleton with fellow former post office worker Noel Thomas outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London

Following an audit, Lee was suspended and ordered to repay the money, which he refused to do. 

The Post Office eventually took Lee to the High Court, where he represented himself. After losing the case, the Post Office pursued him for legal costs of £321,000, which left him bankrupt.

As a result, Lee's family suffered abuse within the community, with his children being bullied in school. 

Will Mellor as Lee and Amy Nuttall as Lisa in Mr Bates vs The Post Office© ITV STUDIOS
Lee and Lisa are played by Will Mellor and Amy Nuttall in Mr Bates vs The Post Office

In a statement released in October 2023, Lee, who is a core participant in the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, said that he's "not out for vengeance".

"I don't expect an apology from anyone, but I do want closure and I would like people to tell the truth," he said. "We're owed that, the living and the dead, and this was a deadly fiasco."

Today, Lee lives in a two-bedroom bungalow in Scarborough with his wife, Lisa, who is played by Amy Nuttall. While Lee works nightshifts in a local factory, his wife works in a small supermarket owned by her family. According to the Daily Mail, the couple, who were once mortgage-free, now have a mortgage that won't be paid off until they are 70.

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