Marcel Theroux leads new Playboy Bunny Murders series for ITV

Monday: The Playboy Bunny Murder (ITV1, 9pm)
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Last week The Long Shadow, ITV1’s drama charting the search for the Yorkshire Ripper, came to a conclusion.

Now, the channel is tackling a lesser-known case in the two-part true-crime documentary The Playboy Bunny Murder.

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The programme investigates the killings of Eve Stratford, a Playboy Bunny who aspired to be a famous model, and schoolgirl Lynne Weedon, who were both found dead in London in 1975.

Playboy Bunny Eve Stratford who was murdered at her home in Leyton, East London, on 18th March 1975Playboy Bunny Eve Stratford who was murdered at her home in Leyton, East London, on 18th March 1975
Playboy Bunny Eve Stratford who was murdered at her home in Leyton, East London, on 18th March 1975

Their murders remain unsolved but when Weedon’s case was re-opened in 2007, DNA evidence suggested both women had been the victim of the same unknown killer.

Lynda Farrow, a croupier with years of experience working in nighttime London, was found dead in 1979. At the time, the media linked her death to that of Stratford due to similarities between the crimes and the fact that both of them had worked in West End nightspots. However, subsequent DNA testing failed to establish a link.

The cases have long fascinated writer, broadcaster (and brother of Louis) Marcel Theroux.

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He says: “This is a story that has obsessed me for years. How could a serial killer kill multiple victims in 1970s London and remain unknown? What evidence was missed?

“What clues were the police of the time unable to make use of? As witnesses reach the ends of lives and memories fail, this might be the last chance to get justice for the three victims.”

Although the title may sound like it’s been chosen to attract maximum attention, we’re assured that the women will be at heart of the documentary.

John Farrar, Chief Creative Officer at Future Studios, said: “These women are not just names or statistics. They were someone’s daughter, someone’s friend, someone’s partner. Marcel is not only on a mission to seek the truth but to shine a light on those lives that were tragically cut short.”

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The filmmakers had access to friends, colleagues and relatives of the victims, who share their memories and shine new light on the women’s lives and personalities.

The two-part documentary also set out to take viewers back to the superficially glamorous days of London in the 1970s, drawing on archive footage to recreate the era, while also exposing the darker side of the city’s nightlife.

It’s a story that begins at the Playboy Club in London, which was the most financially lucrative and internationally infamous site in Hugh Hefner’s empire. It was a favoured hangout of Hollywood stars and politicians, but it would also provide the backdrop to Stratford’s murder.

Theroux sifts through 50 years of inconclusive police investigations in search of new leads, and examines the links between the case and other unsolved murders.

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Then, in tomorrow’s concluding part, the documentary takes an unexpected turn as modern technology reveals a new, fourth victim.

Marcel learns that detectives are flying out to the Far East and a predator is uncovered. Is it possible that after all these years, the women and their families will finally get the justice and answers they deserve?

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