Emilia Fox walks in the Footsteps of Killers

Wednesday: In the Footsteps of Killers; (Channel 4, 10pm)

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:07 pm
Emilia Fox and Professor David Wilson
Emilia Fox and Professor David Wilson

If this new series sounds familiar, chances are you’ve seen the documentary Jack the Ripper – The Case Reopened.

It aired on BBC One two years ago, and while publicising it, co-host Emilia Fox stated: “Having worked on crime drama for many years this project has been a truly fascinating insight into how current real police procedure, forensics and technology can be applied to the most famous of unsolved historical crimes.

“Working alongside Professor David Wilson, we have approached it as a cold case might be investigated now.”

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She could be describing In the Footsteps of Killers, which reteams her with Wilson. She, of course, is best known for playing forensics expert Dr Nikki Alexander on long-running drama Silent Witness, while he’s a prison governor-turned-criminologist specialising in serial killers; his other TV work includes the award-winning Interview with a Murderer, about the death of Carl Bridgewater.

Each of the three episodes will see the duo delve into cold cases, travelling to the locations where they occurred and meeting with witnesses, suspects and the friends and families of the victims in the hope of getting a picture of what may have happened. Their aim is to uncover facts and possible clues that might have been missed or did not come to light during the original investigations.

“I am delighted that Channel 4 have given David and I the chance to explore and shed light on these fascinating unsolved cases,” says Fox. “We will use this platform to raise awareness and hopefully bring new evidence to these true crime cases which have gone under the radar.”

Wilson adds: “I am delighted to be working again with Emilia. This series is going to take true crime in a different direction by using new criminological techniques to shine a light on unsolved cases which have for too long remained in the dark. Our goal in every episode is to get justice for the victims and I sincerely believe that is possible.

“True crime is crime fact that looks like crime fiction, but we never forget that these are genuine cases that we are discussing and that real people died.”

Commissioning editor Fatima Salaria says of the duo: “As a team they bring intelligence and empathy and my hope is that by shedding new light on these crimes we may help bring the perpetrators to justice once and for all.”

The opening programme focuses on best friends David Spencer (aged 13) and Patrick Warren (11), who vanished on Boxing Day in 1996. The case perhaps has special meaning for Wilson. He has been outspoken in his criticism of the original investigation, claiming the police initially believed they were runaways because they were working class, and that their disappearance would have been taken more seriously had they come from a more affluent background.

Now, he and Fox visit Solihull, where the boys lived, to retrace their steps and learn more about a groundbreaking attempt to find them.

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