Channel 4 to investigate the 2001 disappearance of British backpacker Peter Falconio

Category: News Release

On July 14th, 2001, 27-year-old English backpacker Joanne Lees flagged down a truck on a lonely stretch of the Stuart Highway in central Australia. She had a horror story to tell. According to Lees, in the dead of night, she and her boyfriend Peter Falconio had been attacked on the highway. She claimed Falconio had been shot and she had been bound before escaping into desert scrub.

Tapping into long held fears about the Australian outback, the story created a firestorm of tabloid headlines in the UK and Australia. International tourists stayed away from the Northern Territory as a massive police manhunt went nowhere for 16 months. That is until a tip-off led to a small-time drug runner, Bradley John Murdoch, being arrested. Murdoch flatly denied it all, but the jury disagreed and found him guilty of murder, sentencing him to life in prison.

For some experts and onlookers, the guilty verdict in Murdoch’s murder trial has always felt clouded with doubt. In one of the most detailed re-investigations of the Falconio case ever mounted, Falconio: An Outback Murder? (wt), a new four-part series for Channel 4, will explore the details and the questions that surround this infamous case.

Channel 4 Specialist Factual commissioning editor, Nicola Brown said: “The culmination of years of painstaking re-investigation into one of the most infamous cases in recent history, this series asks fresh questions about a story that has remained in public consciousness for almost 20 years.”

Falconio: An Outback Murder? (wt) was commissioned by Channel 4 Specialist Factual commissioning editor, Nicola Brown. The 4x60 series will be made by CJZ and will air on Channel 4 in 2020, followed by TX on the Seven Network in Australia.

Production Company: CJZ

Commissioning Editor: Nicola Brown  


For further information, please contact:
Samantha Fraser, Factual Publicity Manager