The Murder of Stephen Lawrence

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The Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Genre True crime
Written by Paul Greengrass
Directed byPaul Greengrass
Starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Hugh Quarshie
Leon Black
Ashley Walters
Millicent Gezi
Joseph Kpobie
Brian Bovell
Jo Martin
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersJeff Pope
Yvette Vanson
ProducerMark Redhead
CinematographyIvan Strasburg
EditorClare Douglas
Running time120 minutes
Production companies Granada Television,
Vanson Productions
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release18 February 1999 (1999-02-18)

The Murder of Stephen Lawrence is a British television true crime drama film, written and directed by Paul Greengrass, that first broadcast on ITV on 18 February 1999. [1]


The film, based on the murder committed on 22 April 1993, follows Stephen's parents' Doreen and Neville's quest for justice as a gang of racists are tried for their son's murder. Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Hugh Quarshie star as Doreen and Neville, with Leon Black playing Stephen, and Ashley Walters, Millicent Gezi, Joseph Kpobie and Brian Bovell also amongst the main cast. [2]


The film was first conceived in 1997, with then head of drama at ITV, Nick Elliott, commissioning the project before a script had even been written. Producer Mark Readhead said a key part of the film was to "concentrate on the personal, rather than police, procedures", in order to create a "true story". [3] The film was notable for being actress Jean-Baptiste's first British screen role since her Oscar nomination for Secrets and Lies .


Home media

The film was released on VHS in the United States on 23 April 2002, but this remains the only home release. [4]

Legacy and sequel

In the wake of various Black Lives Matter protests, and as part of ITV's "Black Voices" strand, the drama was repeated on ITV in July 2020, immediately after an hour-long debate programme, Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed?. [5]

In July 2020, it was announced that a new, three-part sequel to the 1999 drama had been commissioned by ITV. The series will be set 13 years after the black teenager was killed and will depict his parents’ fight for justice. [6]

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  1. "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence". ITV Studios.
  2. "ITV to screen Lawrence drama". BBC News. 10 February 1999.
  3. "The justice game". The Guardian. 15 February 1999.
  4. "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence [VHS]". Amazon.
  5. "Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed?". ITV Press Centre. July 2020.
  6. "New ITV drama about murder of Stephen Lawrence to follow parents' fight for justice". ITV News. 13 July 2020.
Preceded by
A Rather English Marriage
Best Single Drama [1]

Succeeded by
  1. "Television - Single Drama in 2000". BAFTA. 2000.