January 08, 2020
Like The Moorside, Little Boy Boy and A Confession before it, White House Farm is set to tell one of Britain’s most shocking true-life crimes. 
White House Farm: ITV’s New Show Dramatises The Jeremy Bamber Murders. Here’s What You Need To Know
Beginning on ITV on 8 January, the six-part series has been hotly anticipated as it dramatises the shocking Jeremy Bamber murders that happened at an Essex farmhouse in 1985.
Ahead of its debut, here’s everything you need to know about it…It is based on the real-life Jeremy Bamber murdersWhite House Farm recounts the events leading up to and following a fateful night in August 1985, when five members of the same family were murdered at an Essex farmhouse – some as they slept in their beds. 
The victims were wealthy and respected Nevill and June Bamber, their adoptive daughter Sheila Caffell, and her twin six-year-old boys, Daniel and Nicholas. 
Police initially believed that glamorous former model Sheila, who had problems with her mental health, had killed her family before turning the gun on herself, having been found with the weapon still in her hands. 
While the head investigating officer, DCI Thomas ‘Taff’ Jones, believed it was an open and shut case, Detective Sergeant Stan Jones had doubts about the murder-suicide theory, with his suspicions aroused over Sheila’s brother Jeremy Bamber, who first called the police to the farm. 
Fast-forward 14 months, and Jeremy was charged and convicted of the murders. “The story of this reversal is one of the most astonishing and controversial tales in the history of British policing,” says writer and executive producer Kris Mrksa. For me, it is also one of the most heart breaking.
“Our main ambition was to do justice to the emotional truth of the terrible crimes that took place at White House Farm. That a decent family, including two small boys, were murdered in cold blood, apparently so that a greedy young man could secure his inheritance. And that he might have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for the courage and perseverance of a few brave people.”
While Jeremy Bamber denies his guilt to this day, he is currently serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He is one of the few prisoners in the UK subject to a whole-life order. The show relies heavily on the book The Murders at White House Farm, partly based on the extensive research and interviews competed by author Carol Ann LeeCarol corresponded with Jeremy Bamber from his prison cell over a three-year period to get an idea of the case, as well as speaking to all the key players from Essex police, as well as friends and family of the victims. 
Her book is seen as the most detailed and balanced account of this notorious crime, and will also be republished to tie in with White House Farm’s debut on TV. 
But while Carol spoke to Jeremy Bamber for her book, White House Farm bosses confirmed they did not approach him about the dramatisation.The drama was made with the blessing of one remaining family memberColin Caffell, the father of Daniel and Nicolas, had written a book about his loss in the years since the murders called In Search Of The Rainbow. But until now, he had not cooperated with any programme about the case. 
Producers therefore reached out to him at “a very early stage”, explaining how important it was to tell the story. 
“This was crucial to us,” says co-executive producer Willow Grylls. “As was having his blessing.”
“Colin’s book is uncomfortably honest,” Willow continues. “Not just about Sheila but about himself. What I found remarkable was his personal journey to make sense of this tragedy. Colin’s own ability to transcend tragedy and rebuild his life is inspiring.”Director Paul Whittington added that it was also important for Colin that we see his ex-wife Shelia “as a wonderful mother as well as someone who suffered from mental illness”.
Willow revealed that as well as speaking to Colin and using Carol Ann Lee’s book, they also “spoke to many other people who were involved in this case”. 
“There was a huge amount of research to ensure that we were as accurate as possible,” he says. 
However, the majority of filming locations were changed out of respect
“Aside from filming Jeremy Bamber’s trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, where it took place in 1986, we avoided filming at any of the real locations out of respect,” director Paul Whittington says. 
“Wherever we film - whether a real location or not - we are always acutely aware and sensitive to the fact we are portraying real life with real victims. Along with the responsibility that comes with that.”The programme makers have a history of quality storytellingWhite House Farm is produced by New Pictures who previously made The Missing for the BBC. It was written by Kris Mrksa, whose previous credits include The Slap and Requiem, and was directed by Paul Whittington, who worked on the acclaimed real-life drama Little Boy Blue and ITV’s Hatton Garden.The White House Farm cast is seriously impressiveFreddie Fox (Cucumber, Year Of The Rabbit, The Three Musketeers) Freddie takes on the role of killer Jeremy Bamber, who like Sheila, was also adopted by Nevill and June Bamber. 
Freddie says he “cannot and would not” give an opinion on whether he feels Jeremy Bamber is guilty or innocent. 
“It is not my place to do that,” he says. “But obviously he is a psychologically interesting person who is both articulate, well-spoken, well-educated, determined and, quite possibly, manipulative. It was a very interesting balance to strike.”
Mark Addy (The Full Monty, Game Of Thrones, Atlantis, The Syndicate)Mark plays DS Stan Jones, who was the officer who first had suspicions about Bamber. 
In real-life, Stan never received any official recognition for helping convict him, which is something Mark disagrees with. 
“I think Stan should have got some official recognition,” he says. “But the police could not condone him going above his commanding officer’s head so he got a cup of tea and a pat on the back. That was possibly enough for Stan. 
“And in my version of Stan he was happy with that because justice was served. It wasn’t about him being feted or decorated. It was about justice for those two six-year-old boys and the three adult victims.”
Stephen Graham (This Is England, Line Of Duty, A Christmas Carol, The Virtues)Stephen appears as DCI Thomas ‘Taff’ Jones, the head investigating officer who believed the case was an open-and-shut one of murder-suicide. 
Mark Stanley (BBC’s Little Women, Sanditon, Elizabeth Is Missing)Mark plays Colin Caffell, Sheila’s ex-husband and father of Daniel and Nicholas, whose performance was praised by the man himself. 
Mark says: “He also got in touch after he watched it all to say, ‘You’ve played it as I wanted it - and how I felt I was. Which is that I survived it.’”
He adds: “He is a better survivor than I ever would be. He went through absolute hell. But to see him come on set and to be able to do that with strength; I’ve got a massive amount of respect for him for being able to do that. I think Colin is incredible.”
Colin’s partner, Heather, is played by Grace Calder (Outlander, Deadwater Fell). 
Cressida Bonas (Tulip Fever, The Bye Bye Man, Doctor Thorne)Cressida plays Shelia Caffell, a former fashion model who has schizophrenia and no longer has full-time custody of her two sons.
“From all I’ve read, she loved her children very much and was a good mother,” Cressida says. “A kind person and very lost. But at this time mental health was spoken about and treated differently to today.”
Gemma Whelan (Game Of Thrones, Gentleman Jack, Upstart Crow)Gemma plays Ann Eaton, who is cousin to Sheila and Jeremy, and lives close to their parents’ farmhouse. 
Gemma says Ann was “pivotal in alerting the police to the way Jeremy behaved after the murders and other aspects they overlooked when originally deciding this was a case of murder-suicide”. 
“She knew there was no way Sheila could have done it. Ann made people look again at the case,” she explains. 
Alexa Davies (Raised By Wolves, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) Alexa plays Julie Mugford, Jeremy’s girlfriend, who initially supports him following the killings at White House Farm. 
“I believe she was head over heels in love with Jeremy,” Alexa says of her character. “It is hard to understand at first why she didn’t immediately go to the police if she knew what had really happened. It’s hard for people to excuse that. But it’s not as black and white as that. 
“Outwardly Jeremy could be very charming and attractive. Her life was completely set out. She hoped to marry Jeremy and have children.”
Her brother David is played by Richard Goulding (King Charles III, Ripper Street), who supports his sister’s suspicions.  
Amanda Burton (Silent Witness, Waterloo Road, Midsomer Murders) plays June Bamber, Jeremy’s adopted mother, who is deeply religious and has strong ideas about parenting. 
June’s husband Nevill is played by Nicholas Farrell (The Iron Lady, The Chariots Of Fire). 
Alfie Allen (Game Of Thrones) also appears as Brett Collins, one of Jeremy Bamber’s friends. 
White House Farm begins on Wednesday 8 January at 9pm on ITV.READ MORE: How White House Farm Murderer Jeremy Bamber Still Denies The Crime 35 Years On Jeremy Bamber Lawyers Fail To Postpone ITV Dramatisation Of The White House Farm Murders
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