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4th June 2020
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What Makes A Murderer Trailer

In this three-part series pioneering neuro-criminologist Professor Adrian Raine teams up with leading forensic psychologist Dr. Vicky Thakordas-Desai, to take three convicted murderers on a documentary journey of self-discovery. Made by Dragonfly and UnderworldTV, a production company that brings together programme-makers and convicted ex-criminals, the series will see each perpetrator explore their life and crimes in unprecedented detail, while experts will help them to uncover the previously hidden sociological, biological and psychological factors that may have influenced their behavioural traits, their actions and ultimately, their path to criminality.

Convicted murderers submit themselves to biological and psychological investigations to determine whether they truly had control over their actions. First up is 71-year-old John Massey, Britain’s longest-serving murderer, who spent 43 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a nightclub bouncer in 1975. Neurocriminologist Professor Adrian Raine looks for biological causes of his aggressive, risk-taking and psychopathic behaviour, and forensic psychologist Dr Vicky Thakordas-Desai takes him back in time to his most painful childhood experiences.

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Amanda Knowles MBE 21st November 2019 at 8:46 pm

This evening I will be watching part one of a three-part documentary ‘What Makes a Murderer’ on Channel 4 at 9pm.

I first met film maker Adam Boone head of creative at Underworld TV in the autumn of 2018 when I took part in Caravan Media’s acclaimed Channel 5 documentary ‘James Bulger: The New Revelations’ and was immediately impressed by the integrity of the man and the aspirations of Underworld TV a production company that brings together program makers and convicted ex-criminals.

When I joined the crew for their 2018 Christmas Party in Peckham, I found that in common with the aspirations of Your Life Your Story, Underworld TV strives to bring new voices and perspectives to public attention and to subvert stereotypes and misconceptions.

During the many years spent looking after other people’s children in the British Care system I have witnessed first-hand the manifestation of adverse childhood experiences and trauma in behaviour and those left on their own to make the perilous journey to adulthood long before they were ready.

In 2012 I became a trustee and a director of The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities a charity with an international membership that supports the development of therapeutic communities and enabling environments in children’s homes, adult mental health services, addiction services and prisons and is closely associated with the Community of Communities the an improvement and accreditation program therapeutic practice.

In this capacity I took part in a peer-review at a therapeutic community in a category B prison in the midlands. At the end of the visit we joined the men for their community meeting and as I looked at the faces of those men, I was struck by how many could have been children I might have looked after.

Of course, I already knew that looked after children were massively over-represented in the prison population statistics have been telling us that for years but, it’s only when you come face to face with the individuals behind the numbers that you feel the magnitude and shame of this failure. On another occasion I was privileged to listen to the story of a woman prisoner who had served a life sentence for her part in the murder of the man who had abused and sexually exploited her for years. The first line read, “it took me 2 years to learn how to speak and a life sentence to find my voice.”

When Adam told me about the documentary and the work of Professor Adrian Raine, I treated myself to his book, ‘The Anatomy of Violence’ which I couldn’t put down and I will be watching this series with the same interest.


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