My Celebrity Life

Stephen Merchant distanced himself from Grindr killer Stephen Port in new drama: ‘He’s a banal, scary murderer… I didn’t want to editorialise’

Stephen Merchant will play Stephen Port in the new BBC drama Four Lives (Picture: BBC)

Stephen Merchant has revealed he had no intentions to meet ‘Grindr Killer’ Stephen Port ahead of his harrowing new drama Four Lives.

The three-part BBC series tells the true story of Port’s victims identified as Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, and Jack Taylor.

Port was jailed in November 2016 for drugging and murdering men he met on the gay dating app Grindr before dumping their bodies in a graveyard.

Merchant’s latest role serves a major contrast to his usual comedy style and the 47-year-old actor explained he wanted the programme’s focus to be on the victims and their families.

‘I think that seeing it through the family’s eyes is a very smart way of exploring this, he told Pink News.

‘There’s a sense that we don’t want to indulge him with that level of Hannibal Lecter focus and intrigue, you know.

The actor revealed the show will focus on the victims and their families (Picture:: BBC)

‘He’s a banal, scary murderer… I didn’t want to editorialise.’

The Office star also studied Port’s mannerisms but admitted it was a struggle for him to get into his mindset.

‘I don’t know how a serial killer thinks,’ Merchant added.

‘When we filmed the court trial scenes… what is the person thinking in that circumstance? They know they’ve killed four men, but they’re not going to admit it.’

The show also draws attention to how authorities mishandled the cases, with an inquest jury concluding that failings by the Metropolitan Police probably contributed to the deaths of Port’s victims.

‘You think this is something that’s going to be set in the 1970s, with the reactions of the police and the sort of hum of homophobia, but it’s 2014. It’s shocking.’

Actress Sheridan Smith plays Walgat’s mother Sarah Sak in the upcoming series, alongside Jaime Winstone, Samuel Barnett, Rufus Jones, Robert Emms, Daniel Ryan, Stephanie Hyam, and Leanne Best.

The first episode of Four Lives premieres on January 3 at 9pm on BBC One.


Credit: Original article published here.

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