Stephen Merchant’s performance of the serial Killer Stephen Port, who killed four young men between June 2014 and September 2015, in the new BBC drama Four Lives has left viewers feeling uneasy. The role was a far cry away from Merchants usual comedic roles.
Merchant acts alongside Sheridan Smith in the new three-part drama that tells the story behind the ‘Grindr Killer’, who took the lives of four men including Hull-born Anthony Walgate, 23. The other victims’ names were 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.
Port met the men on the popular dating app and the BBC aim with the new drama was to focus on the victim’s families who want to uncover the truth about what happened to their sons. A BBC statement last year read the: ‘factual drama will go beneath the headlines to shed new light on this story by telling it from the point of view of the families of Stephen Port’s victims, focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons and brothers in the face of a now widely criticised police investigation’.
The first two episodes aired on BBC One on Monday and Tuesday and viewers were left feeling uneasy after Merchant’s convincing performance as killer, Port.
Posting on Twitter, one viewer said: “Watched Four Lives last night, TV drama at its best, unbelievable acting from Stephen Merchant, but what a sad story.”
One viewer gave a positive review of Merchant, writing: “It is SO good. Stephen Merchant is fantastic – creepy, sinister, scary looking. What an awful true story this is, heartbreaking for the families.”
Someone else tweeted: “Chilling performance from Stephen Merchant.”
Discussing the drama Merchant said it was a ‘privilege’ to be involved with telling this story. Furthermore, he said: “This is a story that can’t be ignored – how four young lives were lost and their families’ brave attempt to uncover what happened.
“This factual drama will shed light on their story, so it’s a privilege to be a part of telling it with the brilliant combination of Jeff Pope, Neil McKay and the BBC.”
The serial killer and rapist were sentenced to life in prison back in November 2016. The BBC drama tells the story of the friends and families of the murdered boys as they try tried to find justice in the face of a now widely condemned police investigation.
The final part of Four Lives airs tonight on BBC1 at 9pm or you can watch via iPlayer online now.