New true crime drama about Maids Moreton murderer to air on BBC starring Sheila Hancock and Timothy Spall
and live on Freeview channel 276
A new TV drama about the Maids Moreton murder of Peter Farquhar and defrauding of Ann Moore-Martin by former churchwarden Ben Field is due to begin on BBC One and iPlayer on Monday, July 17.
The four-part true crime drama The Sixth Commandment, written by Sarah Phelps (A Very British Scandal, The Pale Horse) has a distinguished cast including Timothy Spall, Anne Reid, Éanna Hardwicke and Sheila Hancock.
The Sixth Commandment tells the story of how the meeting of an inspirational teacher, Peter Farquhar (played by Timothy Spall), and a charismatic student, Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke), set the stage for one of the most complex and confounding criminal cases in recent memory. It also focuses on how suspicions around Field’s relationship with Ann Moore-Martin (Anne Reid), Peter’s deeply religious neighbour, unlocked a series of chilling revelations.
The Sixth Commandment explores the way in which both Peter and Ann were manipulated by Field, capturing the extreme gaslighting, the gripping police investigation and the high-profile trial, while highlighting the devastating effect of isolation and loneliness, as Field closed in on them.
Field, who was 28 at the time of his conviction, was jailed for 36 years in 2019 for killing 69-year-old Peter Farquhar after entering into a fake relationship with him.
He drugged his food and gave him neat alcohol until he was a "shambling wreck" of his former self at his Maids Moreton home.
Field then moved on to Mr Farquhar’s elderly neighbour, retired teacher Ann Moore-Martin, with whom he had a “full blown sexual relationship”, the court heard.
He was cleared of killing Miss Moore-Martin but admitted fraud, with the court hearing how he’d encouraged both pensioners to change their wills in his favour.
The drama tells of the extraordinary events and the massive police investigation that followed, and explores the way Field manipulated his victims in a harrowing saga.
Religion played a strong part in the murder, hence the title The Sixth Commandment, which states ‘Thou shalt not kill’.
Timothy Spall said: “When I received Sarah Phelps’ brilliant scripts, I knew this was an essential story to tell. I am honoured to be playing the remarkable Peter Farquhar and hope I do him justice, which is the very least he deserves.”
Anne Reid said: “I found the story of The Sixth Commandment extremely disturbing and I feel a great sense of responsibility in portraying this good, kind, trusting woman, Ann, who was so cruelly deceived.”
Éanna Hardwicke said: “It is a privilege to join the brilliant cast and creative team behind The Sixth Commandment. I've long been a fan of Sarah's writing and Saul Dibb's filmmaking, and I know they are the people to tell this heart-breaking story with sensitivity and depth.
"Peter Farquhar and Ann Moore-Martin nourished the lives of many in their time and Sarah's writing beautifully draws out the richness of their lives and the positive impact they had while exploring the callousness and cruelty brought into their home by someone they trusted. I'm mindful and appreciative of the confidence of Peter's and Ann's families in trusting us with their stories.”