Filming has begun on BBC One’s The Sixth Commandment, a new four-part true crime drama which explores the deaths of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, and the extraordinary events that unfolded over the following years.
Written by Sarah Phelps (A Very British Scandal, The Pale Horse), and produced by Wild Mercury Productions (a Banijay UK Company) and True Vision Productions, the cast includes Timothy Spall (Mr Turner, Spencer), Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax, Sanditon, Dinner Ladies), Éanna Hardwicke (Lakelands, Normal People), Annabel Scholey (The Split, The Salisbury Poisonings), Sheila Hancock (Unforgotten, A Discovery of Witches, Great Canal Journeys), Ben Bailey Smith (The Split, Andor), Conor MacNeill (Industry), Adrian Rawlins (Baptiste, Chernobyl) and Amanda Root (Summerland, Unforgotten).
The Sixth Commandment tells the story of how the meeting of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall), and a charismatic student, Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke), set the stage for one of the most complex and confounding criminal cases in recent memory.
It also focuses on how suspicions around Field’s relationship with Ann Moore-Martin (Anne Reid), Peter’s deeply religious neighbour, unlocked a series of chilling revelations.
The Sixth Commandment explores the way in which both Peter and Ann were manipulated by Field, capturing the extreme gaslighting, the gripping police investigation and the high-profile trial. While poignantly highlighting the devastating effect of isolation and loneliness, as Field closed in on them, it also celebrates both Peter and Ann’s lives as cherished mentors, much loved relatives and adored friends.
Timothy Spall said: “When I received Sarah Phelps’ brilliant scripts I knew this was an essential story to tell. I am honoured to be playing the remarkable Peter Farquhar and hope I do him justice, which is the very least he deserves.”
Anne Reid said: “I found the story of the Sixth Commandment extremely disturbing and I feel a great sense of responsibility in portraying this good, kind, trusting woman, Ann, who was so cruelly deceived.”
Éanna Hardwicke said: “It is a privilege to join the brilliant cast and creative team behind The Sixth Commandment. I’ve long been a fan of Sarah’s writing and Saul Dibb’s filmmaking and I know they are the people to tell this heart-breaking story with sensitivity and depth. Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin nourished the lives of many in their time and Sarah’s writing beautifully draws out the richness of their lives and the positive impact they had while exploring the callousness and cruelty brought into their home by someone they trusted. I’m mindful and appreciative of the confidence of Peter’s and Ann’s families in trusting us with their stories.”
Sarah Phelps, writer and Executive Producer, said: “I wouldn’t have been able to write this without the help, support and insights of Peter and Ann’s families. I’m so appreciative of the trust they placed in me to tell the stories of their loved ones. I’m thrilled that we have such an astonishing cast and phenomenal team of creatives, led by our director Saul Dibb, to bring my scripts to life.”
Derek Wax, Executive Producer for Wild Mercury Productions, said: “This is a powerful and emotionally complex story, and Sarah Phelps has invested her scripts with extraordinary detail, nuance and passion. I’m thrilled that we have assembled such a strong cast and a brilliant director in Saul Dibb to bring it to life.”
Brian Woods, Executive Producer for True Vision Productions, said: “Drama has the ability to explore the emotional truth beneath the headlines. From the outset we have been working with the families of Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin and we hope that The Sixth Commandment will illuminate their experiences and most of all, honour the lives of Peter and Ann.”
The Sixth Commandment is a Wild Mercury and True Vision production for BBC One. It is directed by Saul Dibb (The Salisbury Poisonings, NW) and produced by Frances du Pille (The Outlaws, The Watch). It is executive produced by Sarah Phelps, Derek Wax for Wild Mercury Productions, Brian Woods for True Vision Productions and Lucy Richer for the BBC. The Sixth Commandment is being distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.
The Sixth Commandment is being made in full cooperation with Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin’s families. Filming is taking place in and around Bristol and Bath.
Picture credits: Sheila Hancock (Neil Spence); Timothy Spall (Seb JJ Peters)
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