The Pembrokeshire Murders

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The Pembrokeshire Murders
GenreCrime drama
Based onThe Pembrokeshire Murders: Catching the Bullseye Killer
by Steve Wilkins
Written byNick Stevens
Directed byMarc Evans
Theme music composerCarly Paradis
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes3
ProducerEd Talfan
Production companies
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatSurround sound 5.1
Original release11 January (2021-01-11) –
13 January 2021 (2021-01-13)

The Pembrokeshire Murders is a British three-part television drama miniseries based on the Pembrokeshire murders by Welsh serial killer John Cooper.[2] In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins[3] decided to reopen two unsolved 1980s murder cases linked with a string of burglaries. New advances in technology for forensic DNA analysis, witness reports and artists impressions of the suspect led to Dyfed-Powys Police reviewing a 1989 episode of Bullseye,[4] which led to the serial killer finally being caught.[5] It premiered on ITV on 11 January 2021.

The drama is the thirteenth in a series of ITV mini-series featuring notorious British murder cases of the past two centuries, following on from This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (2000), Shipman (2002), A Is for Acid (2002), The Brides in the Bath (2003), See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006), Appropriate Adult (2011), Dark Angel, In Plain Sight (both 2016), Little Boy Blue (2017), Manhunt (2019), White House Farm, and Des (both 2020).[6]



Development and casting[edit]

In January 2020, production began on The Pembrokeshire Murders.[8][5] The series stars Luke Evans of The Great Train Robbery as Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins, and Keith Allen as John Cooper, serial killer.[9]


Filming wrapped just before Wales's first lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.[10][11] Most exterior scenes were shot on location in Pembrokeshire.[12]


It was first shown on Belgium's Dutch-speaking broadcaster Eén from 29 January to 12 February 2021.

In the United States and Canada, the series will premiere on streaming service BritBox.[13]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
(millions) [14]
1"Episode One"Marc EvansNick Stevens11 January 2021 (2021-01-11)10.94
DSU Steve Wilkins re-opens one of Wales's most notorious unsolved crimes, known locally as the Coastal Path Murders.
2"Episode Two"Marc EvansNick Stevens12 January 2021 (2021-01-12)10.29
The investigation into the Coastal Path Murders continues, but with no conclusive results from scientific testing, DSU Wilkins and his team must tackle the chief suspect, John Cooper, head-on for three days of interviews.
3"Episode Three"Marc EvansNick Stevens13 January 2021 (2021-01-13)10.64
A long awaited scientific breakthrough gives DSU Steve Wilkins and his team their vital ammunition in the case against John Cooper.

Critical reception[edit]

Rebecca Nicholson, reviewing in The Guardian, described the drama as "no glory for violent, rotten crimes" and gave it four stars,[15] while Carol Midgley for The Times described the show as "a case of too much cop and not enough killer" and gave it three stars.[16] Ed Cummings from The Independent criticised the programme for following dramatic clichés and poor script-writing, awarding two stars.[17]


  1. ^ "Meet the cast of ITV true crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders, 5 January 2021". Radio Times. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Is ITV crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders based on a true story?, 12 January 2021". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Pembrokeshire Murders: Ex-officer on 'squeezing six years into three episodes, 10 January 2021". Radio Times. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  4. ^ "The Pembrokeshire Murders: How a Bullseye appearance implicated the real-life killer John Cooper". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b "ITV commissions true crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders (w/t) starring Luke Evans". ITV Press Center. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  6. ^ "ITV commissions three part drama, Des - with David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen". ITV Press Center. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Who is The Pembrokeshire Murders' DI Ella Richards actor Alexandria Riley?, 5 January 2021". WalesOnline. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  8. ^ "Where was The Pembrokeshire Murders filmed?, 6 January 2021". Radio Times. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  9. ^ Productions, The World. "The Pembrokeshire Murders". World Productions. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Luke Evans: The Pembrokeshire Murders sees actor return to Wales". BBC. 7 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  11. ^ "The Pembrokeshire Murders: The exact locations where the ITV crime drama was filmed, 11 January 2021". WalesOnline. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  12. ^ Patrick Cremona (13 January 2021). "Where was The Pembrokeshire Murders filmed?". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  13. ^ White, Peter (3 March 2020). "U.S. Streamer BritBox To Co-Produce Luke Evans Crime Drama 'The Pembrokeshire Murders'". Deadline. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  14. ^ "BARB 7-Day viewing data". BARB.
  15. ^ "The Pembrokeshire Murders review – no glory for violent, rotten crimes by Rebecca Nicholson". The Guardian. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  16. ^ "The Pembrokeshire Murders review – a case of too much cop and not enough killer by Carol Midgley". The Times. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  17. ^ "The Pembrokeshire Murders review – Some cases are best left alone by Ed Cummings". The Independent. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 14 January 2021.

External links[edit]