entertainment

Stephen Merchant has been cast to play Grindr killer Stephen Port in BBC drama

The comedian will join Sheridan Smith in the upcoming drama

2019-02-12

Stephen Merchant has been cast to play Stephen Port, the Grindr serial killer in a BBC drama.

Known as The Barking Murders, the show will be told from the point of view of the families of the men murdered by Port, focusing on their fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to their lost sons and brothers.

Now, it was announced that the Extras star will be taking on the role of the serial killer alongside Sheridan Smith who is set to play Sarah Sak, the mother of victim Anthony Walgate.

In a statement, Merchant 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.”

Smith added: “I love playing real life characters—especially an inspirational woman like Sarah Sak—but with it comes responsibility.

“Along with the other families, Sarah went through so much heartache and it would have been easy for her to just accept what she was being told by the police, but something inside made her keep fighting for her son.”

Jack Taylor and Anthony Walgate

Port poisoned his four victims with lethal doses of date-rape drug GHB, before dumping their bodies within the in or around a graveyard in Barking less than 500m from his home between August 2014 and September 2015.

In 2016, the former chef Port was found guilty of killing Daniel Whitworth, Gabriel Kovari and Jack Taylor.

The body of Slovak-born artist Kovari, 22, was discovered close to a churchyard in Barking in 2014. A month later, the body of Whitworth, 21, was found in the same spot.

Daniel Whitworth and Gabriel Kovari

The body of forklift driver Jack Taylor, 25, was found in nearby Barking Abbey ruins almost a year later, in 2015.

Port was also found guilty of the murder of 23-year-old Anthony Walgate.

In 2016, Port was found guilty of four counts of murder, as well as seven offences of administering a substance with intent and three sexual assaults.

He was handed a whole-life term and will die in prison.

Filming for The Barking Murders is set to start in spring.