Background

Every now and again a drama comes along that will get the nation talking by exciting and infuriating them in equal measure, and that’s exactly what viewers can expect from The Victim.

The BBC has lined up a four-part blockbuster that airs nightly from Monday 8 April at 9pm on BBC One, and is already being billed as event TV that’s not to be missed.

A trailer for the series teases, “In law, there is the accused and the victim. In life, it’s not that simple” - and viewers are sure to find themselves arguing over who they believe is right or wrong.

This bold thriller follows one court case through the eyes of both the victim, hard-working family man Craig Myers, and the accused, grief-stricken mother Anna Dean.

Anna’s world was turned upside down 15 years ago following the brutal murder of her son in a killing that viewers are sure to draw parallels with that of the real-life case involving James Bulger in 1993.

The killer of Anna’s son was also a minor and after being found guilty served time behind bars before being released and handed a new identity that was kept from the public.

When Craig (James Harkness) is savagely attacked in his own home after being identified online as the notorious child murderer, all fingers point to Anna as the person who conspired to have him murdered.

So has the grieving mother turned criminal to get the justice she thinks she never had for her son, and is Craig simply the tragic victim of mistaken identity or the cold blooded killer he’s accused of being?

The action swaps between the court case and the investigation that led up to it which is led by DI Steven Grover, played by John Hannah.

As Craig and Anna go head to head, prepare for some potential new suspects to be thrown in the mix that could blow the case wide open, and, as even more secrets are revealed on both sides of the courtroom, the story delivers a final, devastating climax.

Kelly Macdonald, who plays Anna, says she was drawn to the scripts by the rollercoaster of emotions she felt when reading them.

“When I read the scripts there was so much drama there,” she explains. “During an episode your loyalties will be shifting and moving; it’ll keep everyone on their toes.

“It’s not a courtroom drama, although there is a lot of that in there. It’s about family dynamics, it’s a mystery, it’s a thriller, but it’s grounded and real.

It takes one tragic event and shows the domino effect on so many people. It’s basically about two families, good and bad. Nothing is black and white – it’s almost Shakespearean.

As the case unravels, this exciting drama throws a spotlight on society’s obsession with social media and how at the touch of a button anyone can have their life turned upside down.

It remains to be seen whether Craig’s innocent, but that doesn’t stop his friends and neighbours deciding he’s guilty.

“In a lot of small communities like this one, news travels fast”, says James Harkness, who plays Craig. “So everyone makes up their own mind pretty quickly until proven otherwise.

“It’s a shame but it’s very easy in this day and age to make your mind up and point the finger. It’s horrible, I think we all need to be careful with social media, it’s so easy to tar someone with a brush.”

John Hannah adds: “It puts the audience front and centre in how they are going to react to this show. It’s not entertainment for entertainment’s sake, there’s a lot of issues being addressed and explored.

“With social media, you’re forced into having an opinion about everything and James talks about a local community but we now have a global community where within a minute everyone can know everything about you.

“I think we’re all capable of anything, we all hope not to do the things we might be judgemental about, but who’s to say we wouldn’t given what Anna has been through?”