Press Centre

A Confession

  • Episode:

    3 of 6

  • Transmission (TX):

    Mon 16 Sep 2019

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 38 2019 : Sat 14 Sep - Fri 20 Sep

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Tue 03 Sep 2019

This information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 10 September.

Series overview

A Confession, from acclaimed screenwriter, Jeff Pope, starring Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Siobhan Finneran and Joe Absolom has been coproduced by ITV Studios and Urban Myth Films.

The series tells the story of how Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Martin Freeman (StartUp, The Hobbit, Sherlock, Fargo), deliberately breached police procedure and protocol to catch a killer, a decision that ultimately cost him his career and reputation.

Set in Swindon, Wiltshire, ‘A Confession’, details the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. On a night out with girlfriends, Sian left a nightclub in Swindon Old Town to walk the 15 minutes home to boyfriend Kevin Reape, played by Charlie Cooper (This Country). Worried for her safety, Kevin reports Sian missing when she fails to come home in the early hours or respond to his increasingly frantic texts.

With the police investigation underway, officers arrive on the doorstep of Sian’s mother, Elaine O’Callaghan, played by Siobhan Finneran (Cold Feet, The Moorside, Happy Valley), who at first thinks her daughter must have stayed overnight with a girlfriend. Described as a ‘family girl’, it was uncharacteristic of Sian to be out of touch with her loved ones.

Senior Investigating Officer Steve Fulcher leads a team which begins to piece together Sian’s last movements, scouring CCTV footage from the club and re-tracing her steps home. Cell-site analysis reveals her mobile phone signal bouncing off a mast 14 miles away in Savernake Forest. With the missing person’s enquiry in full swing Fulcher, orders a full-scale search operation.

Believing Sian may still be alive, Fulcher operates on the premise that Sian is being held somewhere against her will. If she is, he knows it will be a race against time. Through diligent and painstaking police work Fulcher and his team discovers CCTV footage of her in the High Street, which leads to vital clues in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Karen Edwards, played by Imelda Staunton (Maleficent, Paddington, Harry Potter, Vera Drake, The Girl), the mother of Becky Godden, a 20-year-old who disappeared eight years previously in 2003, is watching the investigation unfold on the local news and in the town centre. Reminded of Becky’s disappearance, she becomes gripped by fear that her daughter will somehow be involved in what is unfolding before her eyes as the search for Sian goes on.

A known drug addict and prostitute, Becky had disappeared many times before and although Karen had tried to help her daughter, staging interventions and paying for rehabilitation, sadly Becky continued to lapse back into addiction.

Coincidentally, the property where Karen lives with her second husband, Charlie, backs on to the home of Elaine O’Callaghan and her then partner. Although they don’t know one another, their lives become tragically intertwined when Fulcher and his team edge closer to their chief suspect, local taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, played by Joe Absolom (Doc Martin, The Level, Suspects).

The investigation culminates in a standoff between Fulcher and Halliwell at a remote location, as Fulcher tries to avoid him being taken back to a police station, being given a solicitor and saying ‘no comment’. Just as Fulcher is about to give up, Halliwell suddenly makes a startling confession. But this moment of apparent triumph takes on sinister consequences and steers the investigation in a completely unforeseen direction.

Episode 3

At a remote countryside location Steve Fulcher questions prime suspect Christopher Halliwell about the whereabouts of missing young woman, Sian O’Callaghan. He refuses Halliwell’s requests to take him immediately to a police station and tells him that he has a chance to do the right thing and tell him where Sian is, otherwise Halliwell and his family will be “vilified” in the press.

Halliwell indicates he wants to go somewhere and they get in Fulcher’s car along with Debs Peach who records everything. Halliwell directs the car and the following police convoy and helicopter to a remote country lane where he tells Fulcher he left Sian’s dead body in a ditch at the side of the road. Fulcher tells Tracey Joyce the news and asks her to stay and search for the body.

Fulcher tells Halliwell he will have him taken back to the station and arrested but Halliwell wants to talk somewhere privately. At nearby White Horse Hill Halliwell confesses to the murder of “another one” to Fulcher. A prostitute he strangled then buried in a field many years earlier. He leads the police to the exact spot identified by a dip in the stone wall bordering the field. Halliwelll is finally cautioned and arrested for the murder of two women. Fulcher is informed by Joyce that they have found Sian’s body.

The news of Sian’s death is given to Elaine and her family by a liason officer before Fulcher arrives to personally apologise and to tell them they have arrested Halliwell.

Fulcher returns to the police station to a round of applause but his deputy SIO Steve Kirby is concerned as Fulcher did not caution and take Halliwell to a police station for further questioning in the presence of a solicitor as soon as he learnt that Sian was dead.

Fulcher makes a televised statement regarding the arrest of a man for Sian’s muder and the murder of another, as yet, unidentified girl. Karen seeing the press conference is convinced that the other girl is her missing daughter Becky despite Charlie’s protestations. When she visits the police station to follow up the desk sergeant tells her that police believe the victim was murdered between 2003 and 2005. As family of John Godden, her ex-husband, have said they have seen Becky a couple of years ago this reassures Karen that Becky is still alive.

Meanwhile back at Gabelcross police station, Halliwell who now has a duty solicitor, is only offering “no comment” and refuses to sign a transcript of the confession he gave Fulcher based on Peach’s notes. As a result Fulcher briefs his team to continue to pursue evidence that will help convict Halliwell including asking Halliwell’s daughter if she would agree to a covert recording of a visit with her father.

After initially struggling to make head way through thick mud in the dig to find another body Sean Memory discovers a second dip in the wall and excavation in the new area with softer ground unearths skeletal remains