This year marks ten years since the launch of Operation Yewtree, a police investigation that put some of Britain’s biggest entertainers in the dock for historic sex crimes. Now, Channel 4 has commissioned Curious Films (Caroline Flack: Her Life & Death, Reclaiming Amy) to produce a landmark documentary about the operation’s lasting impact on the country’s values, attitudes and culture.
The Accused: National Treasures On Trial (1x60’) features three figures accused by Operation Yewtree or one of the subsequent investigations it spawned, three men who were accused but either never arrested, charged or never convicted: Sir Cliff Richard, radio DJ Paul Gambaccini and former Pop Idol judge and DJ Neil Fox.
Led by their personal stories and experiences of being investigated, while in the full glare of the national media, including video diaries recorded with Paul Gambaccini and Neil Fox at the time, the documentary explores the immediate and longer-lasting impact the process had on them, their families, careers and reputations, as well as examining the wider legacy of Yewtree through their eyes.
The documentary also hears from some of those close to the police investigation, along with journalists who were involved in the national conversation surrounding Yewtree.
Lee McMurray, commissioning editor, Factual Entertainment, Channel 4 says: “This film offers a unique and fresh take on events that changed us forever, compelling viewers to ask important questions about a watershed moment in recent British history. The hurt and anger felt by three household names caught in the eye of the storm sparked by Yewtree, is weighed against the need for and value of a police operation that, while not perfect, delivered long overdue justice to victims of heinous crimes.”
Jessie Versluys, executive producer, Curious Films added: “The Accused: National Treasures on Trial explores what it’s like to find yourself at the heart of a police investigation into alleged historic sex crimes. Using first-hand testimonies, it looks at the role of the media during this period, and the argument around whether celebrities should be named in the press before any charge has been made. At the same time it asks searching questions about Yewtree and assesses its role in changing Britain’s attitudes towards sex, morality, consent, gender relations and what we expect from public figures.”
The Accused: National Treasures on Trial is a 1x60’ documentary commissioned for Channel 4 by Lee McMurray, commissioning editor, Factual Entertainment. It is made by Curious Films and produced by Lauren Rowles, directed by Christian Collerton and executive produced by Jessie Versluys, alongside Dov Freedman and Charlie Russell, co-Founders of Curious Films.
The Accused: National Treasures on Trial will air on Wednesday 24th August at 9pm on Channel 4 & All 4.
Curious Films’ recent commissions include feature documentary RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL (Netflix) MAKING SENSE OF CANCER WITH HANNAH FRY (BBC Two), RECLAIMING AMY (BBC Two), which was the most watched music documentary of all time on BBC iPlayer, CAROLINE FLACK: HER LIFE & DEATH (Channel 4), SQUAD GOALS 3: DORKING TIL I DIE (w/t, BBC Three), and THE PEOPLE VS CLIMATE CHANGE (BBC iPlayer). The company is currently in production on a range of projects for broadcasters and international streamers and recently announced that TV executive Kim Shillinglaw has joined as a Non-Executive Director, as the company looks to capitalise on recent commissions and accelerates its growth over the next 12 months.