The White Princess’ Billy Barratt will star alongside Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley, Strike’s Tom Burke and Traitors’ Stephen Campbell Moore in a BBC feature-length drama about the age of criminal responsibility.
The 12-year old Barratt, who featured in the Starz White Princess drama alongside Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer, will play Ray, a 12-year-old boy on trial for murder, in Responsible Child.
Owen McDonnell (Killing Eve), Shaun Dingwall (Topboy), Debbie Honeywood (Sorry We Missed You), Angela Wynter (Les Miserables) and James Tarpey (Our Robot Overlords) round out the cast.
Based on real events, the drama is told in two time frames and follows the events that led up to the murder and trial. Ray (Barratt) and his 23-year-old brother Nathan (Tarpey) are arrested after stabbing their mother’s partner. Whatever the circumstances that have led a child to kill, the law is clear: the age of criminal responsibility is 10, and so Ray must stand trial in adult court.
Written by Sean Buckley (Skins), Responsible Child takes us inside a young boy’s experience of the legal system, asking powerful questions about responsibility and redemption. It is directed by doc filmmaker Nick Holt (The Murder Trial), who makes his drama directorial debut.
Elinor Day (Killing Eve) produces, with Karen Wilson (Utopia) and Katie McAleese (The Living And The Dead) serving as Executive Producers for Kudos, Lucy Richer and Ayela Butt for the BBC and Mark Raphael for 72 Films.
It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. It will be distributed globally by Endemol Shine International.
Holt said, “Whilst making The Murder Trial I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder. It’s an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. Ten is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I’m delighted to be working with Kudos and the BBC.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Responsible Child raises one of the most complex and challenging questions of our time. Nick and Sean’s extraordinary film explores the age of criminal responsibility in England and takes us to the heart of the legal question: in the most severe of cases, ‘should a child be tried as an adult or child?’ We are hugely indebted to them for the sensitive, nuanced and empathetic approach to telling this harrowing true story on BBC Two.”