REVIEW: Written In Blood exposes ‘The Facebook Killer’ who inspired Angela Clarke’s bestselling crime novel
The fourth episode of CBS Reality’s Written In Blood uncovers the inspiration behind Angela Clarke’s murderous tale, as the series continues to tie fact and fiction together.
The original new series, Written In Blood, sees host Simon Toyne meet up with a number of bestselling authors to discuss the real-life crime cases that inspired some of their most popular works. In tonight’s episode, we travel to Darlington to learn about ‘The Facebook Killer’ who galvanised Angela Clarke into writing one of her most renowned novels.
Clarke is best known for creating a series of crime stories, each of which focuses on how a killer utilises social media to commit his or her crime. When she stumbled across the case of Peter Chapman, therefore, his crimes immediately stole her attention. The man in question was convicted for the online grooming and murder of a local teenager, and in this episode Simon and Angela retrace Chapman’s criminal history.
The concept behind the show is brilliantly innovative, as viewers get to explore the cases that motivate some of Britain’s best fiction. Rather than focussing too much on Clarke’s written tale, the episode rather becomes its own narrative, telling the story of Chapman himself. We start at the beginning, with the criminal’s backstory, before working our way along a timeline of events that lead to his main murder. The narrative is also told from a number of different perspectives, as we follow the killer’s criminal career from the viewpoint of an author, a psychiatrist, a journalist, and other experts.
Crime documentaries looking at old murder cases can run the risk of feeling a bit tired. However, this modern look at the real-crime genre lends the programme a fresh, unique take on the exploration of criminal acts. Some really thought-provoking questions regarding social media are highlighted during the programme, for instance; a weapon that has only recently become popular in the hands of killers. During the show, writer Clarke talks about the importance of continually evolving the crime genre, and how she wants her work to reflect the current society in which we live. Of course, so much of contemporary society involves social media, and Written In Blood delves into the dark side of the internet to expose the dangers of these online platforms.
The series demonstrates the intense level of research novelists are required to conduct before creating their own fictional universe. It is not just the details of one specific murder that are unpacked, but Peter Chapman’s entire backstory, including his personal relationships, his history with sexual assaults and his movements around the country. Just as you would when reading a book, you constantly find yourself asking ‘what happens next?’ as the episode progresses.
You are certain to leave the episode wanting to read Angela’s own fictional interpretation of events, what with the real-life narrative already being so chilling and compelling. And this desire to link facts with fiction pretty much sums up the whole series. Written In Blood bridges the gap between artwork and real events, and is a definite must-see for crime addicts and bookworms alike.
Written In Blood continues tonight (Sunday) at 10pm on CBS Reality.