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Sheridan Smith to star in new ITV drama based on harrowing real-life murder

I Fought the Law tells of Ann Ming's fight for justice after her daughter Julie's murder

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 2, 2024
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Sheridan Smith is set to lead ITV's upcoming new drama I Fought the Law, which tells the real-life story of a mother's fight to repeal the notorious double jeopardy law and bring her murdered daughter's killer to justice.  

Based on Ann Ming's book, For the Love of Julie, and penned by All Creatures Great and Small writer Jamie Crichton, the series will follow Ann's heartbreaking 15-year battle to hold her daughter's murderer accountable.

WATCH: ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office was also based on a shocking true story

In November 1989, Julie, who was a mother to young son Kevin and wife to husband Andrew, disappeared after a shift at a local pizza parlour. 80 days later, her body was found concealed in the bathroom of her home, despite the extensive searches of the property by the police. 

The archaic double jeopardy law meant Julie's murderer couldn't be tried twice for the same crime, and so when he was controversially acquitted after two mistrials, Ann took on the Criminal Justice System, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Government to get justice. It's this law that Ann and her family managed to overturn. 

Sheridan Smith at Olivier Awards 2023
Sheridan Smith will star in the new series

Sheridan leads the cast as Ann, who will act as a consultant throughout the production process. Filming on the four-parter is set to commence in August 2024 in Teesside and the surrounding areas.

On her new role, Sheridan said: "I am so honoured to have been asked to play the role of Ann Ming, a mother so determined to fight for justice for her murdered daughter that she spent 15 years campaigning for the double jeopardy law to be changed.

"She is a truly courageous and remarkable woman to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude."

Sheridan Smith in The Teacher© Channel 5
Sheridan has starred in an array of successful dramas, including The Teacher

Meanwhile, Ann said: "I am very pleased that [production company] Hera Pictures will tell the story of my campaign to overturn the double jeopardy law.

"My daughter's killer was wrongfully acquitted, and a number of years later confessed to her murder, for which he could only be prosecuted for perjury due to the 800-year-old double jeopardy law. I wasn't going to let this stand in my way of getting justice for Julie.

"I'm overwhelmed that Sheridan Smith will be playing me. Having such an iconic and talented actress portray me is truly wonderful."

Sheridan said she's 'honoured' to play the role© Gareth Cattermole
Sheridan said she's 'honoured' to play the role

ITV's Senior Drama Commissioner Helen Ziegler added: "It's a privilege to be working with Sheridan, Jamie and Hera Pictures to bring Ann Ming’s extraordinary and unwavering fight for justice for her daughter to ITV. Ann took on the establishment, overturned the law and made history. She is a reminder of the power one voice can have."

A release date has yet to be announced for the series, which will air on ITV1 and ITVX.

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