Channel 5 has commissioned Firecracker Films to produce a 90-minute standalone investigative documentary, The Body in the Bag, based on the true story of the death of Gareth Williams.

In August 2010, Gareth Williams, a GCHQ employee on a 3-year secondment to MI6, was found dead inside a padlocked duffel bag in the bath of his London flat.

A post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office pathologist was unable to determine the cause of death, but two years later, a coroner ruled that it was likely Williams had been unlawfully killed – but with no sign of struggle in his flat, and a lack of forensic evidence, the Met Police believe Gareth acted alone.

This case has become one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in recent British history, and even now, twelve years after Williams’ death, the public are still waiting for answers as to what happened to the 31-year-old codebreaker who had been branded a genius since childhood.

Through interviews with police, MPs, and forensic scientists – as well as archive and detailed reconstruction – this documentary will re-examine the case in a bid to get to the bottom of the events that led to Williams’ untimely death; did he act alone or were shadowy forces involved?

Federico Ruiz, commissioning editor, Channel 5 & Paramount+, said: “This is the fascinating and unique story of an unsolved crime that gripped Britain. It’s a truly compelling and at times uncomfortable watch and I’m delighted to be adding it to Channel 5’s blossoming slate of quality true-crime feature docs.”

Kirsty Calvert-Ansari, creative director of Development, Firecracker Films, added: “In such a populated crime space, this really is a unique story of spies and mystery. Building on our increasing slate of crime documentaries, including the success of Firecracker’s ‘Grace Millane: The Social Media Murders’, this has been a great production to be part of.”

Sam Emmery, creative director, Firecracker Films, added: “12 years on, Gareth Williams’ death remains a mystery. We hope that through this powerful documentary some of the questions around his tragic death can be answered.”

The Body in the Bag is executive produced by Kirsty Calvert-Ansari and Sam Emmery at Firecracker Films, with David O’Neill directing and Eden Gilby as producer.


Pippa Considine

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