Great Crimes and Trials

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Great Crimes and Trials
Genre Documentary
Created by Philip Nugus and Johnathan Martin (Nugus/Martin Productions LTD)
Starring Robert Powell
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 78
Running time 30 minutes
Original network BBC2
Original release 2 November 1993 (1993-11-02) – 17 July 1996 (1996-07-17)

Great Crimes and Trials (sometimes titled Great Crimes and Trials of the Twentieth Century) is a 1993-1996 BBC documentary television series. The program uses archival material to reconstruct a renowned crime, examining the felon's motives, details of the crime, the investigations and the trial. Each episode is narrated by actor Robert Powell.[1][2]

Series 1 (1993)[edit]

Number Episode Notes
1 The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
2 Lucky Luciano
3 Al Capone
4 Son of Sam
5 The Hillside Stranglers
6 John Dillinger - Public Enemy No. 1
7 The Manson Family Murders
8 The Jonestown Massacre
9 The Green Beret Killings
10 The Case of Dr. Sam Sheppard
11 Neville Heath
12 Ted Bundy
13 Gary Gilmore
14 The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
15 John Gacy
16 The Massacre of the Tsar and the Imperial family
17 Dr. Crippen
18 The Great Train Robbery
19 The Boston Strangler
20 Haigh the Acid Bath Murderer
21 John Christie of Rillington Place
22 The Black Panther
23 Murph the Surf
24 The Hammersmith Murders
25 The McKay Kidnapping
26 The Yorkshire Ripper

Series 2 (1994)[edit]

Number Episode Notes
1 Charles Starkweather
2 Howard Hughes Biography Hoax
3 Jean Harris
4 The Kidnap of Patty Hearst
5 Richard Speck
6 Caryl Chessman
7 Roberts, Duddy and Witney
8 Jeremy Bamber
9 Hitler and the Nuremberg Trials
10 Stalin and the Massacre at Katyn Wood
11 The Assassination of Gandhi
12 The Assassination of Martin Luther King
13 The Kennedy Assassination
14 The A6 Murder
15 Dennis Nilsen
16 Charles Whitman
17 US Brinks Robbery
18 The Night Stalker
19 The Rosenbergs
20 Jimmy Hoffa
21 Dan White
22 Bonnie and Clyde
23 Wayne Williams
24 Alcatraz Episode features the 1946 and 1962 escape attempts.
25 The Ku Klux Klan
26 The New York Mafia Wars

Series 3 (1996)[edit]

Number Episode Notes
1 Mark Chapman and the Killing of John Lennon
2 Gaston Dominici
3 Henry Lee Lucas
4 Donald Hume
5 John Duffy Episode made before revelation of Duffy's accomplice.[3]
6 Graham Young
7 Sir Harry Oakes
8 Lord Haw-Haw
9 DeFeo and Benson
10 Donald Merrett
11 Roy Fontaine
12 Buck Ruxton
13 Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
14 John Bodkin Adams
15 Heidnik and Dahmer
16 Judge Joe Peel
17 Sacco and Vanzetti
18 The Trunk Murders
19 Browne and Kennedy and other Police Killings Episode also features the cases of Bentley and Craig and Guenther Podola.
20 The Siege of Sidney Street
21 Leopold and Loeb
22 The Zodiac Killer Episode features the cases of the California Zodiac Killer, the New York Zodiac and the Green River Killer. Episode made before capture of both the New York Zodiac[4] and the Green River Killer.[5]
23 The Assassination of Robert Kennedy
24 Pol Pot and the Killing fields of Cambodia
25 The Malmedy Massacre
26 Ma Barker and Other Public Enemies Episode also profiles the Barker–Karpis gang, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly.


The series was originally broadcast on Tuesday afternoons on BBC2 in the United Kingdom[6] and in the United States on the A&E Network.[7] In the mid-late 2000's the program was repeated on weekdays in the United Kingdom on the Crime & Investigation Network.[8]


Great Crimes and Trials of the Twentieth Century
Author Paul Begg and Martin Fido
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre True Crime
Publisher Carlton Books
Publication date
December 1993 [9]
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 224
ISBN 1-85868-016-6
OCLC 41900320

A book to accompany the series was published by Carlton Books in late 1993 written by Paul Begg and Martin Fido. Comprising twenty eight true crime cases, the book profiles twenty five of those from series one (omitting The Hammersmith Murders), one case which would later be profiled in series three (Bentley and Craig) and two that were never featured on the programme (The Krays and The Moors Murders).[10]

Home Media[edit]

Several collections of Great Crimes and Trials have been released to VHS and DVD. The first and second series were released on video by Columbia Tristar in 1997. The first series was released on DVD by Columbia Tristar in 2005,[11] and the third series was released on DVD by Network DVD in 2011.[2][12]

In the US, two collections were released by Sony as part of the "Sony Choice Collection" line of burn-on-demand DVD-R's in 2013.[7][13][14] Great Crimes And Trials Of The 20th Century, Volume 1: Gruesome California features six episodes on one disc of crimes that took place in California and Great Crimes And Trials Of The 20th Century, Volume 2: The Original Gangstas features five mob and gangster related episodes on one disc.[15][7]


External links[edit]