Channel 4 has commissioned a 1×90’ doc from Story Films that tells the story of how a number of parents and teachers at a Hampstead school were accused of being part of a Satanic paedophile ring.

The allegations were found to be baseless but the conspiracy theory caught fire online leading to death threats, harassment and abuse – much of which continues today.

The mothers at the heart of this chilling story speak for the first time in a new feature-length documentary, which blends real archive footage and interviews, with lip-sync drama. Emily Turner is the director.

The story begins when videos were released online of two children, accusing parents of their friends, and teachers, of leading a paedophilic satanic cult, supposedly headquartered in secret rooms on the school premises.

The story was entirely made up, concocted by their mother’s new boyfriend Abraham Christie. But once the fire was lit, it was impossible to put out. The allegations plagued the lives of the accused, footage shows screaming demonstrators chasing a vicar through Hampstead, a US conspiracy theorist flying to London to investigate and even ‘rescue’ the children, and online threats of kidnap and far worse. Most of this harassment was instigated by a small group of conspiracy theorists and trolls.

With the authorities unable to help, it fell on four of the accused mums, and a band of online activists, to gather evidence and build a legal case against their harassers. After 4 years of fighting to protect their children and get justice, they finally got their day in court.

With exclusive audio testimony of the accused mothers at the centre of this story, lip-synced by actors, and interviews from the conspiracy theorists, Emily Turner’s film explores the “real-world impact of an outrageous online conspiracy theory, exploring the importance of truth and the cost of lies.”

The film will be distributed by All3 International.

Executive Producer, Peter Beard said “Emily’s film is a remarkable, terrifying and timely tale. The women at the heart of this story have been so brave in letting us tell their incredible fight for justice. Their story shows that any of us could wake up one morning and find ourselves in the middle of an internet conspiracy. The question is whether we’d have the strength to fight back in the way they did.”

Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual who commissioned the film added: “Emily Turner and Story Films have made a remarkable film that is so shocking and yet so relatable – asking huge questions about truth, trauma and justice. The courage of the women at the centre of the story is extraordinary, and the impact of their testimony so profound.”

The director is  Emily Turner and the editor is Simon McMahon. Executive Producers are Adam Hopkins and Peter Beard. Composer is Ed Harcourt and the commissioning editor is Shaminder Nahal.

Jon Creamer

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