ITV and Hera Pictures announce I Fought The Law, starring Sheridan Smith


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ITV and Hera Pictures announce I Fought The Law, starring Sheridan Smith, written by Jamie Crichton, based on Ann Ming’s book For The Love of Julie

‘Life is about the people you love… I wanted justice to be done.’ Ann Ming

The heart-breaking, real-life story of a mother’s love, courage and determination to change the Double Jeopardy Law, and see her daughter’s murderer brought to justice, is to be dramatised by ITV starring Sheridan Smith as the woman who took on the Criminal Justice System.

Written by screenwriter Jamie Crichton (All Creatures Great and Small, The Last Kingdom, Grantchester) the series recounts how tenacious mother of three, Ann Ming, battled for 15 years so that her daughter’s murderer could finally face justice, having been controversially acquitted following two mistrials.

Ann Ming, who will act as consultant throughout the production process, said of the television adaptation:

“I am very pleased that 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.”

Commented Sheridan Smith:  

“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.”

The four-part series has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill and Senior Drama Commissioner Helen Ziegler, who will oversee production of the drama on behalf of the channel.  I Fought The Law will air on ITV1 and ITVX.

Commented Helen Ziegler:  

“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.”

Hera Pictures (Mary & George, What It Feels Like For A Girl, Hamnet, Temple, Honour) will produce the series in association with All3Media International with Executive Producers Liza Marshall and Charlotte Webber at the helm.

Commented Liza Marshall:  

“Ann’s refusal to give up and her tireless devotion to seeing justice is an inspiring story that deserves to be more widely known. We’re honoured to work with Sheridan, Ann, Jamie and ITV to highlight this incredible true story.”

Commented screenwriter Jamie Crichton:

“As soon as I heard Ann's story, of her iron resolve and unbelievable courage to see justice done in the face of adversity, I knew this was one that had to be told. Ann is a shining beacon of what can be achieved if you stop at nothing to make your voice heard. In an age when it's all too easy to feel helpless, we need more Ann Mings in the world.”

Jamie’s scripts are based on Ann’s book For The Love of Julie which tells how Ann and her family dealt with Julie’s disappearance in Billingham, Cleveland in November 1989 after working her late shift at a local pizza parlour.

Mother to three-year-old, Kevin, and married to husband, Andrew, Julie was only 22 when she died. Raised in a loving home, she was incredibly close to her parents, Ann and Charlie. Tragically, Ann found Julie’s body concealed in the bathroom of her modest terraced house in January 1990, 80 days after it was hidden behind the bath panel by her killer. This was in spite of extensive searches of the property by police forensics teams in the days after her disappearance, who failed to detect her body.

Dissatisfied with Cleveland Constabulary and their investigation, Ann challenged senior officers and applied pressure on the police to discover what had happened to her daughter and to prosecute the man who was guilty of her murder.  

The drama follows Ann and her family, as they campaign tirelessly in Julie’s name.

In her steadfast and indomitable style and despite her grief, Ann took on the Criminal Justice System, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Law Commission, eminent Defence Barristers in television debates, the Government, the Lord Chancellor, the Attorney General, and two Home Secretaries as she ‘fought the law.’

Hera Pictures is a leading independent production company founded by award-winning Executive Producer Liza Marshall in 2017.

Filming is due to commence in August 2024 in Teesside and surrounding areas, in collaboration with North East Screen via the North East Production fund.

North East Screen develop and champion North East England as one of the UK’s leading film and TV production hubs where exceptional screen industry talent can live, create and work. They manage the North East Production Fund on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership.

All3Media will be responsible for the international distribution of the series.


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