ITV and Hera Pictures have announced I Fought the Law starring Sheridan Smith, which will begin filming in Teesside in summer of 2024, with support from the North East Production Fund, delivered by North East Screen on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership. 

The heart-breaking, real-life story of a mother’s love, courage and determination to change the Double Jeopardy Law, and see her daughter’s murderer brought to justice, is to be dramatised by ITV starring Sheridan Smith as the woman who took on the Criminal Justice System.  

Written by screenwriter Jamie Crichton (All Creatures Great and Small, The Last Kingdom, Grantchester) the series recounts how tenacious mother of three, Ann Ming, battled for 15 years so that her daughter’s murderer could finally face justice, having been controversially acquitted following two mistrials. 

Ann Ming, who will act as consultant throughout the production process, said of the television adaptation:  

“I am very pleased that Hera Pictures will tell the story of my campaign to overturn the Double Jeopardy Law. My daughter’s killer was wrongfully acquitted, and a number of years later confessed to her murder, for which he could only be prosecuted for perjury due to the 800-year-old Double Jeopardy Law. I wasn’t going to let this stand in my way of getting justice for Julie. I’m overwhelmed that Sheridan Smith will be playing me. Having such an iconic and talented actress portray me is truly wonderful.”  

Sheridan Smith, who will play Ann Ming, said: 

“I am so honoured to have been asked to play the role of Ann Ming, a mother so determined to fight for justice for her murdered daughter that she spent 15 years campaigning for the Double Jeopardy Law to be changed. She is a truly courageous and remarkable woman to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude.” 

The four-part series has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill and Senior Drama Commissioner Helen Ziegler, who will oversee production of the drama on behalf of the channel. I Fought The Law will air on ITV1 and ITVX. Helen Ziegler said:  

“Ann Ming’s extraordinary and unwavering determination to get justice for her daughter took on the establishment and changed the law. We are thrilled to be working with Sheridan, Jamie and Hera Pictures to bring this tale of the power of one voice to our screens.”  

Hera Pictures (Mary & George, What It Feels Like For A Girl, Hamnet, Temple, Honour) will produce the series with Executive Producers Liza Marshall and Charlotte Webber at the helm. Liza Marshall said:  

“Ann’s refusal to give up and her tireless devotion to seeing justice is an inspiring story that deserves to be more widely known. We are honoured to work with Sheridan, Ann, Jamie and ITV to highlight this incredible true story.”  

Screenwriter Jamie Crichton, who will bring Ann’s story to life said:  

“As soon as I heard Ann’s story, of her iron resolve and unbelievable courage to see justice done in the face of adversity, I knew this was one that had to be told. Ann is a shining beacon of what can be achieved if you stop at nothing to make your voice heard. In an age when it’s all too easy to feel helpless, we need more Ann Mings in the world.”  

Jamie’s scripts are based on Ann’s book For The Love of Julie which tells how Ann and her family dealt with Julie’s disappearance in Billingham, Cleveland in November 1989 after working her late shift at a local pizza parlour.  

Mother to three-year-old, Kevin, and married to husband, Andrew, Julie was only 22 when she died. Raised in a loving home, she was incredibly close to her parents, Ann and Charlie. Tragically, Ann found Julie’s body concealed in the bathroom of her modest terraced house in January 1990, 80 days after it was hidden behind the bath panel by her killer. This was in spite of extensive searches of the property by police forensics teams in the days after her disappearance, who failed to detect her body.  

Dissatisfied with Cleveland Constabulary and their investigation, Ann challenged senior officers and applied pressure on the police to discover what had happened to her daughter and to prosecute the man who was guilty of her murder. The drama follows Ann and her family, as they campaign tirelessly in Julie’s name. In her steadfast and indomitable style and despite her grief, Ann took on the Criminal Justice System, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Law Commission, eminent Defence Barristers in television debates, the Government, the Lord Chancellor, the Attorney General, and two Home Secretaries as she ‘fought the law.’  

Filming is due to commence in August 2024 in Teesside and surrounding areas, with support coming from the North East Production Fund, delivered by North East Screen. The screen agency’s award-winning Film Office will also provide assistance to the production team with locations, provide opportunities for talented regional-based crew and via the region’s filming friendly network. 

Commented Gayle Woodruffe, North East Screen’s Operations Director, said: 

“Supporting I Fought the Law via the North East Production Fund reaffirms our commitment to ensuring more North East stories of global appeal appear on screen.  

“We’re delighted to be supporting the team at Hera Pictures and are looking forward to seeing Jamie’s scripts bring Ann’s incredible story of courage in the face of adversity to life.”    

The North East Production Fund is a multi-million pound aiming to catalyse the sustainable growth of the North East’s film and TV production sector by investing in a portfolio of distinctive, high-quality projects that will collectively contribute to the region, increasing the on-screen visibility and actively contribute to employment of locally-based crew, increasing the spend in the region and improving equality, diversity and sustainability. The North East Production Fund is delivered by North East Screen on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership. Expressions of interest are actively sort from both local and national companies and those interested should visit www.northeastscreen.org/project/production-fund  

Similar Posts
1st March 2024
Screen Alliance North launches Connected Communities events as part of the BBC’s Bring the Drama Festival
Learn more
21st May 2024
TVCA Artists of the Year unveiled for 2024
Learn more
10th May 2024
FilmNation TV UK partners with BBC and North East Screen to drive production in the region
Learn more