The thrill of the kill
’40s serial killer John Christie is moving in and being brought back to life three-episode thriller Rillington Place.
Rillington Place Season 1 Wednesdays (from 21 June) BBC First (*119) 20:00
“The idea of taking on John Christie was a challenge. I’ve never played anything like this before,” warns Tim Roth (Cal Lightman in drama series Lie To Me, 2009-2011). And his role as the serial killer in the threeepisode thriller series Rillington Place (2016) is all the more chilling because it happened in the real world of 1940s London. “John deceived the public and he deceived people close to him. He murdered with virtual impunity,” adds Tim. “He used and abused his power [as a war veteran] and was allowed to go on his merry way. The police work was shoddy. They missed so much as they weren’t looking in the right direction.”
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
Tim says that the most difficult part was getting into the head of “Rillington Strangler” John [his nickname is a reference to his method of murder – either by strangulation or gassing]. “He was a psychopath. I knew facts – I was born in 1961, so it was recent history. Up to a point, you can peel away layers but you can’t get to his core.” The real John fought in World War 1 but was injured in a gas attack. He spent three years as a mute, claiming that the loud explosions and trauma left him unable to talk louder than a whisper – so listen up when Tim’s talking on the series!
AT HIS MERCY
John’s wife Ethel (Sam Morton, Naomi in crime drama The Last Panthers, 2015) reunites with her estranged husband as they move into 10 Rillington Place. She knows that he isn’t mentally stable but Ethel doesn’t know that he’s a killer until it’s too late. John’s tenant Beryl Evans (Jodie Comer, Ivy in drama miniseries Thirteen, 2016) is murdered by John but her husband confesses to killing pregnant Beryl and their young daughter. Tim Evans (Nico Mirallegro, Joe in period drama The Village, 2013-2014) tells the police that John strangled his family but he’s arrested instead. His “confession” is rumoured to be faked by the police to close the case and he’s hanged after his controversial trial.
Serial killer John Christie is brought to life in chilling detail.