LONG-AWAITED serial-killer drama Four Lives has had yet another setback.
The BBC is keen to get the fact-based thriller that stars Stephen Merchant alongside Sheridan Smith on our screens as soon as possible, after it was filmed two years ago.
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It is about four murders carried out by Stephen Port in Barking, East London.
But it can only be shown after an inquest into the deaths of the victims has taken place.
Now Covid-19 has caused another delay.
Last week a coroner adjourned proceedings because of coronavirus making a hearing unsafe — and a new date has yet to be set.
A TV insider said: “This will prolong the agony of families who are hoping the drama will show the world how the cases were handled, and how police may have been able to stop the killer sooner.
“Relatives were already upset last year when they learned the broadcast date was being pushed back by at least 14 months due to the court proceedings.
“That is only set to intensify as there is no clear sign when the Covid-19 lockdown will lift and the inquest can take place.
“Their frustration is shared by the BBC, who have had the schedules on so many shows thrown into disarray by the pandemic.
“But with Four Lives they have a surefire hit completed and ready to air.” The drama is being produced by Jeff Pope and stars Stephen as Port, a loner who raped and killed the four young men between 2014 and 2015.
After meeting them on dating app Grindr, Port gave them a fatal dose of drug GHB.
And although all their bodies were found close to his flat, the Met Police was criticised for failing to make a link.
Port was jailed for life in November 2016 for the murder of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25.
He received a whole life order meaning he is unlikely to ever be released.
In the three-part drama, Sheridan plays Anthony’s mum Sarah and Jaime Winstone is Jack’s sister, Donna.
READ ON FOR MORE OF ANDY HALLS' BIZARRE TV COLUMN
STRICTLY head judge Shirley Ballas says her dream contestant on the show would be Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall. She revealed: “If I could pick a member of the Royal Family, maybe Camilla. She has got rhythm because I’ve seen her dance. I would love her to come on the show.”
You take the high Torode
THIS Morning’s roving gourmet John Torode has hit the road for his most challenging adventure yet.
The telly chef, who has been travelling around Britain to reveal the country’s culinary delights on the daytime show, drives a classic bottle-green Caterham car on the North Coast 500 route that covers the remotest parts of mainland Scotland.
Along the way he produces the perfect winter picnic – and has a close encounter with a wild stag.
The three-parter, which starts tomorrow, is named Torode In Torridon after the small town where he begins his journey. John said: “There is no better place to go than the Scottish Highlands for a retreat in the wilderness.
“It’s no surprise that this is considered one of the world’s most spectacular road trips – especially driving in this beauty.”
LOVE Island’s Anna Vakili has fired back at Vicky Pattison, who claimed Anna humiliated her by making her hold a handbag on the red carpet at a 2019 event. She said on Instagram: “I would never hand anybody my handbag, celebrity, any normal person. I’d never do such a thing.”
Martine has gut instinct on Sausage
MARTINE McCutcheon reckons the mystery celeb she lost out to on The Masked Singer is Joss Stone.
The actress performed as Swan, but got eliminated in the week three sing-off with Sausage on Saturday.
Although many fans think the other star is Stacey Solomon, Martine said: “Sausage has got a phenomenal voice. If I was watching at home, I would absolutely love her. And I think she’s Joss Stone.
“I don’t know why. I just feel there’s something about her.”
She added: “I would have loved to have stayed to do a ballad, for sure. But I do also know it’s a popularity vote.”
The ITV show continues this Saturday at 7pm.
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