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Eddie Marsan, Harry Treadaway, Nathaniel Martello-White join Channel 4’s Deceit

Staff Writer

Channel 4 is lining up an impressive cast for new drama Deceit, with Niamh Algar (The Virtues, Raised by Wolves, Calm with Horses) joined by Eddie Marsan, Harry Treadaway, Sion Daniel Young, Rochenda Sandall and Nathaniel Martello-White.

The four-part series, produced by Story Films and written by Emilia di Girolamo (The Tunnel), examines the controversial honeytrap at the heart of the high-pressure investigation into the devastating murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992. Examining the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early 90s and the police’s obsession with the wrong man, Deceit enters a dysfunctional world, where a female undercover officer, codename ‘Lizzie James’, is asked to become bait for a suspected killer.

Five months on from the crime, The Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they’re convinced is responsible. First identified through a BBC Crimewatch appeal, the evidence points to Colin Stagg (Sion Daniel Young – Keeping Faith, the Welsh BAFTA winning The Left Behind). The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice. The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again. In desperation, the relatively young Detective Inspector leading the case, Keith Pedder (Harry Treadaway – The Crown, Star Trek: Picard), engages the nation’s most famous criminal profiler, Paul Britton (Eddie Marsan – Ray Donovan, Vice), to help devise a bold undercover operation which will see a young female officer start a relationship with Colin.

Growing up under Thatcher’s reign, with second-wave feminism, ‘Lizzie James’ (Niamh Algar) is determined to rise through the ranks. But the early 90s has brought with it a backlash in the shape of lad culture, something felt by both ‘Lizzie’ and her friend and colleague Lucy (Rochenda Sandall – Line of Duty, Criminal: UK).

Hugely ambitious, ‘Lizzie’ has found a way to stand out by becoming one of very few female undercover officers deployed in covert operations, in a team which includes her sometime confidant Baz (Nathaniel Martello-White – I Hate Suzie, Collateral, Small Axe: Mangrove). But then she’s offered a central role in the biggest murder enquiry the country has ever seen.

With access to previously unheard audio, video and written materials, Deceit includes scenes of verbatim dialogue as part of a fictionalised retelling of events, taking viewers behind the scenes of one of the UK’s most flawed and controversial police investigations.

Caroline Hollick, Head of Channel 4 Drama says, “I couldn’t think of a more phenomenally talented ensemble than Eddie, Harry, Sion, Nathaniel and Rochenda to join Niamh Algar, who is fast becoming an iconic star of the Channel, in order to shine a light on one of the most shocking stories in modern policing. The unique female perspective of Emilia’s extraordinary scripts, alongside the stellar performances of our cast, combined with Story Films’ trademark journalistic rigor create a truly sensitive, nuanced and incredibly powerful 4-part drama that we are incredibly proud of.”

Deceit is directed by Niall MacCormick (The Victim, Complicit).

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