See No Evil: The Moors Murders

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See No Evil: The Moors Murders
GenreCrime drama
Written byNeil McKay
Directed byChristopher Menaul
StarringSean Harris
Maxine Peake
Joanne Froggatt
Matthew McNulty
George Costigan
Charlotte Emmerson
John Henshaw
Theme music composerJohn Lunn
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes2 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Andy Harries
Jeff Pope
Producer(s)Lisa Gilchrist
Paul Munn
CinematographyLukas Strebel
Editor(s)St. John O'Rourke
Running time90 minutes (per episode)
Production company(s)Granada Television
Original networkITV/STV/UTV
Picture format16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release14 May (2006-05-14) –
15 May 2006 (2006-05-15)

See No Evil: The Moors Murders is a two-part British television serial, directed by Christopher Menaul, produced by Granada Television and broadcast on ITV on 14 and 15 May 2006. The serial tells the story of the Moors murders, which were committed during the 1960s by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, from the view of Hindley's sister, Maureen Smith, and her husband David. The serial is the first known dramatisation of the notorious killing spree, and it was produced to mark the 40th anniversary of Hindley and Brady's trial. It was made with the full backing of the victims' families, and was based on two years of research.

Writer Neil McKay based the story on the gathered research; which included interviews with detectives, relatives of the murdered children, and Hindley's brother-in-law David Smith. The only murder which featured was that of 17-year-old Edward Evans at Hindley and Brady's house in Hattersley. However, the investigation into the disappearance of the four other victims is mentioned on several occasions, particularly that of twelve-year-old John Kilbride. The production won the BAFTA for Best Drama Serial at the 2007 ceremony, and was released on DVD on 7 July 2008, having received a pre-release in North America on 29 April.



Episode 1[edit]

  • Broadcast: 14 May 2006. Viewers — 6.52 million.

The story begins in 1964. Married teenagers David and Maureen Smith have recently become parents to a baby girl called Angela. When the child dies of cot-death at the age of six months, Maureen turns to her older sister, Myra, for comfort, and David finds friendship in Myra's boyfriend, Ian Brady. David and Maureen know nothing of the secrets harboured by Brady and Hindley. Shortly after the tragedy, Hindley and Brady move with Hindley's grandmother Ellen Maybury, to a new council house: 16 Wardle Brook Avenue, on the Hattersley estate near Hyde, Cheshire.

In the meantime, members of the local police force are seen discussing the possible fate of several missing local children and teenagers. These include Lesley Ann Downey, a 10-year-old girl who vanished in Ancoats on Boxing Day 1964, and John Kilbride, a 12-year-old boy who went missing in Ashton-under-Lyne in November 1963. No clue to the fate of either child has been found. The consensus among the police is that Lesley was murdered by her step-father, while they are aware of similar allegations (without substance) by members of the public against the father of John Kilbride over the fate of his missing son; although the police have no evidence to charge anyone in connection with the disappearance of either child. Another local boy, 12-year-old Keith Bennett, has also gone missing, and his step-father Jimmy Johnson is questioned several times.

At least one police officer believes that the same person is responsible for the fate of Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride, who disappeared within a few miles of each other, but his theory is rubbished by a colleague.

On the evening of 6 October 1965, David Smith witnesses a horrific murder at Brady and Hindley's house; the victim is a 17-year-old, Edward Evans. After the murder, and fearing for his own life, David helps clean up the mess and stays at the house until the early hours of the morning. When he returns home and tells Maureen about the crime, she finds his story hard to believe. In the morning, however, the couple go to the police, and Brady is arrested. Brady admits to the murder of Evans but insists that Smith was a willing accomplice. Hindley, meanwhile, is not arrested and remains at liberty for the time being, despite David Smith's claims that she had helped lure Edward Evans back to the house to be murdered at Brady's hands.

Episode 2[edit]

  • Broadcast: 15 May 2006. Viewers — 6.22 million.

Police recover a suitcase full of incriminating evidence, from a locker at Manchester Central railway station, and quickly suspect that Evans may not have been their only victim. Smith is soon taken in by police for questioning, as both Brady and Hindley have tried to shift the blame onto him, but the police soon determine that Smith did not take part in any murders. While questioning Brady and Hindley, the police read out the names of other missing children and teenagers who have recently vanished in and around Manchester. To most of the names, Brady and Hindley respond "Never heard of him/her", with the exception of one: Pauline Reade, who had been Hindley's neighbour in Gorton. The evidence against the couple continues to mount; the most shocking comes in the form of pornographic photographs of a missing 10-year-old girl, Lesley Ann Downey, and a tape recording of the child's pleas for her life (these cries are not actually heard when the tape is played).

Meanwhile, the police find the bodies of both Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride, buried in shallow graves on Saddleworth Moor. David Smith is questioned about the murders and Hindley and Brady try to convince the police that he was also involved, but he is soon released after no evidence is found to implicate him.

Brady and Hindley are soon charged with the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride. The police also suspect them of other murders, but have not recovered any bodies or other evidence to charge the pair. On 21 April 1966, Brady and Hindley are tried at Chester Assizes, where they are greeted by a crowd of vigilantes. David Smith is the main prosecution witness, and Maureen, pregnant again, agrees to testify. During the trial, Lesley Ann Downey's mother, Ann West, and stepfather, Alan, barge into David and Maureen's flat and attack them, believing that they were involved in their daughter's murder. David and Maureen's unborn child is unharmed, while Mr. and Mrs. West are cautioned by the police.

Brady and Hindley are convicted of the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey two weeks later. Brady is also convicted of the murder of John Kilbride, and Hindley is found guilty for being an accessory to that murder. Brady is sentenced to three concurrent terms of life imprisonment, while Hindley receives two life sentences for murder and a seven-year fixed sentence on the accessory charge. The birth of their second child does nothing to alleviate public hostility towards David and Maureen, who soon find "Hindley Bitch" painted on their front door.

By 1971, Maureen is living alone in a Manchester flat while David has served a prison sentence for wounding a man who provoked him in a pub with groundless claims that he had been involved in the Moors Murders. David and Maureen have had two more children. Unable to cope with being a single parent, Maureen has placed her children into care. On his release David is able to get his children back. Having initially turned against Maureen for going to the police about Myra, Nellie tracks her down and the two reconcile.

Nellie convinces Maureen to visit Myra in Holloway Prison. Brady (who the trial judge felt had influenced Hindley into committing murder) has been imprisoned elsewhere. By now, having rediscovered her Roman Catholic faith, Myra, whose bleached blonde hair has now turned brown, tells Maureen a day does not go by where she does not think about the suffering she helped bring on the children and their families, or the hell Maureen has been through because of her. Myra also explains that people are always making excuses for her behaviour, such as the beatings from her father when she was herself a child. But Maureen says he used to beat her too, and she didn't do what Myra did. Myra also says some people say Ian Brady corrupted her, and that she has decided to sever all contact with him.

David is not pleased when he learns that Maureen has been to see Myra, but Maureen argues that Myra has changed, although David is not convinced by Maureen's claims that Myra was bullied and blackmailed into taking part in the murders by Ian Brady. David and Maureen then turn their thoughts to their children and agree to patch up their differences for the children's sake. In the last scene, Maureen leaves the house. For a few moments, she stands on the doorstep, fighting back tears, and then she walks away from the house. Maureen is last seen walking down a street as the screen fades to black.

An epilogue follows, revealing the fates of Maureen, David, Brady and Hindley. Maureen died in 1980, aged 34, after suffering a brain haemorrhage; David remarried and had a daughter with his second wife; Brady is currently imprisoned at Ashworth psychiatric hospital in Maghull near Liverpool; and Hindley, aged 60, died in prison from a heart attack in November 2002 after 36 years in prison. By the time of her death, she was one of the longest serving prisoners in Britain.

The epilogue also reveals that it was not until 1987 that Brady and Hindley confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. The two killers were taken back to Saddleworth Moor separately to help locate the bodies. Reade's body was eventually exhumed and buried in a proper grave, but Bennett's body has yet to be found. The drama ends with a tribute to the victims.

Since the film was released, David Smith and Ian Brady have both died. David Smith died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 64. Ian Brady died in a secure hospital in 2017 following a long illness; he was 79 years old and was Britain's longest-serving prisoner, having been imprisoned for more than 50 years.

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