Over the last week, Mr Bates Vs The Post Office has sparked fans’ wrath and contempt.
The four-episode limited series starring Toby Jones concluded on ITV on Thursday, ending on a heartbreaking note.
It relates the real story of a big scandal in which over 700 Post Office branch managers were convicted of criminal charges after defective accounting software caused cash to seem to be disappearing from their locations.
Innocent individuals were convicted of stealing, lost their houses, and plunged into debt; 236 were imprisoned, and some died; hundreds are still awaiting hearings on their appeals, and just 93 convictions have been reversed so far.
The last episode of the series exposed how a huge court battle resulted in victims of the defective technology receiving just £20,000 after legal expenses – significantly less than they had lost.
And in a poignant message at the end of the episode, the show paid tribute to the three subpostmasters who ‘died before their appeals could be heard.’
‘And four subpostmasters [who] have taken their own lives.’
The truth of the scenario presented to viewers in the acclaimed dramatisation has left fans of the series’shocked’ and ‘weeping,’ as many people were learning about the case for the first time.
People expressed their ‘outrage’ at what had occurred as the last episode played and the titles rolled, with some suggesting those responsible had ‘blood on their hands.’
X user Caroline said ‘the whole country is behind these postmasters, everyone I’ve spoken to disgusted by this story.’
Susan Tomes said: ‘Not a dry eye in this house at the end of #MrBatesVsThePostOffice,’ while Teresa McKinnan was in awe over ‘the pain and suffering inflicted on these working people.’
Becky Miller called it ‘shocking,’ writing: ‘How awful for all those people falsely accused. The Post Office should be begging for forgiveness and giving them all compensation and their good names back.’
‘Never ever has a TV series made me as mad as this has,’ Bevbex wrote, while Brenda Irwin said she ‘cried for everyone involved.’
By 2020, the government had launched an independent investigation, which was subsequently released public the following year, into whether the Post Office and software provider Fujitsu were aware of the IT system flaws.
It was supposed to be finished a few months ago, but it is still ongoing.
Alan Bates, the real-life Alan Bates, claims in the documentary Mr Bates against the Post Office: The Real Story that his struggle against the Post Office is not over.
He was given an OBE for his advocacy activities, but declined since then-Post Office CEO Paula Vennels possesses a CBE.
Three years ago, a petition was launched demanding for her CBE to be revoked; in three years, it received 1,000 signatories.
It has gathered over 30,000 signatures in the two days since ITV’s drama premiered.
Over 280,000 individuals have signed the petition as the series comes to a close.
Vennells stated in 2021 that she was ‘deeply sorry’ for the’suffering’ given to subpostmasters who were wrongfully convicted of crimes.