MR BATES VS THE POST OFFICE: WILL MELLOR TO FRONT FOLLOW-UP DOCUMENTARY ON ITV
ITV have reportedly commissioned a new documentary as a follow-up to drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office which aired earlier this month and got the whole country talking.
Mr Bates vs. the Post Office is ITV’s biggest new drama in over a decade, even beating the launch of Downton Abbey in 2010, with over 13m now watching the first episode.
It is the biggest new drama across all channels since Bodyguard on BBC One in 2018. And it is ITV's biggest drama since Broadchurch in 2017. The four episodes are the most watched programmes on any channel so far this year.
The documentary is set to be presented by Will Mellor, who starred in the four-part drama himself, and tell the stories of the hundred of sub-postmasters who've come forward with their own injustices since the drama aired.
Speaking on his podcast with Ralf Little, Mellor said: "I’m making a documentary about what’s going on because changes are being made. Now there’s been about 700 people that have come forward. Mr Bates vs The Post Office is making history [and] we couldn’t have imagined how big it has gone...
"The victims just wanted to be heard and have a voice, but nobody was listening, and now they have been given that voice, and more people are coming out to talk about it. It’s amazing because it shows you what you can do in this country when we come together and say, ‘This is wrong, we need to get justice for these people’.”
In the drama, Toby Jones plays Alan Bates while Monica Dolan, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Alex Jennings, Ian Hart, Lia Williams, Will Mellor, Clare Calbraith, Shaun Dooley, Amit Shah, Lesley Nicol, Adam James and Katherine Kelly are also in the cast.
Between 2000 and 2013, the Post Office held thousands of its own sub postmasters and postmistresses liable for financial discrepancies thrown up by Horizon, its hugely expensive but unreliable computerised accounting system.
Despite warnings that the system was flawed, the Post Office relentlessly pursued the sub postmasters and postmistresses, telling many of them that they were the only ones having problems with Horizon.
Of those affected by the faulty IT system, 736 were prosecuted and hundreds more lost livelihoods, homes and life savings because they paid back money that the Post Office claimed was missing.
Mr Bates Vs The Post Office is available to stream on ITVX now.