ITV’s new drama series, “Mr Bates vs. The Post Office,” has commenced filming. The show, written by renowned screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes and produced by ITV Studios and Little Gem, has received the green light from ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, and will be overseen by ITV Commissioning Editor Helen Perry.
The cast for the 4-part series, which will air on ITV1 and ITVX, includes acclaimed actor Toby Jones, who will portray Alan Bates. Joining him are 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.
Directed by James Strong and produced by Chris Clough, the drama will be executive produced by Patrick Spence, Gwyneth Hughes, Natasha Bondy, Ben Gale, James Strong, and Joe Williams.
“Mr Bates vs. The Post Office” will shed light on one of the most significant miscarriages of justice in British legal history. Due to a faulty IT system, numerous innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud, and false accounting. Many of these individuals faced prosecution and imprisonment for crimes they did not commit, leading to irreparable damage to their lives.
Following a landmark Court of Appeal decision that overturned their convictions, numerous former sub-postmasters and postmistresses have been exonerated after years of fighting to clear their names. However, they believe the battle is far from over.
Alan Bates, portrayed by Toby Jones, commented, “This is one of the most egregious scandals the country has ever seen, and a major corporation has managed to keep it covered up for years. Thankfully, this has now been exposed, and the victims are finally on their way to finding the justice they deserve.”
Toby Jones expressed his pride in being part of the series, calling it “shocking, unsettling, but ultimately inspirational.”
The executive producers expressed their excitement and gratitude for the exceptional cast and hope that the series will raise awareness about this significant miscarriage of justice.
Between 2000 and 2013, the Post Office held its own sub-postmasters and postmistresses accountable for financial discrepancies caused by the flawed Horizon computerised accounting system. Despite being warned about the system’s unreliability, the Post Office pursued legal action against these individuals, claiming that they were the only ones experiencing issues.
Out of the affected group, 736 were prosecuted, resulting in the loss of livelihoods, homes, and life savings for many. Some were even imprisoned, including pregnant women and those with young children, while others were ostracised by their communities. Sadly, some individuals passed away before receiving any form of justice.
The drama will narrate how a group of sub-postmasters formed the Justice For Subpostmasters Alliance in 2009, signalling a turning point in their fight for justice.
ITV Studios will handle the international distribution of the series.