FEATURES

Interview with Will Hanrahan, the man in charge of The Jury Room
By James W, Sunday 21st May 2017

On May 28th a compelling new series starts exclusively on CBS Reality, The Jury Room. The programme re-examines real murder cases where convicted killers have always maintained their innocence. Renowned crime reporter Will Hanrahan helps the jury and the viewers to connect the dots. Will is one of the most respected journalists around so we decided to chat to him about this, his latest unmissable project.

CBSR: You’ve had an incredible career, have you always had a clear career plan?

WH: Kind of. When I was 11 I knew I wanted to be a journalist and before that I used to practice being a TV football commentator so there was a clear interest in both reporting and performing. I also clearly recall annoying my Physics teacher by telling him his subject was of no use to a future journalist – he wasn’t pleased, and I wasn’t very clever for thinking that way; but I was 13 so the plan was part of my thinking then. I was always fascinated by what was happening around me, so journalism just felt right.

CBSR: As a reporter you’ve covered countless historic events, which stands out for you?

WH: Not sure about that, but I think standing in deep mid-winter at Checkpoint Charlie when the wall was still up in Berlin is a moment which stands out for me. You could literally stand on the white line dividing two nuclear-armed powers, knowing you were being watched by the East German Police from a tower. It was like a John Le Carre novel and I recorded my response for a BBC programme which was all about the chance to stand in a spot steeped in historical resonance. As for covering an historic event which unfolded in front of me; I suppose the anti-Thatcher riots in Liverpool will stick in the memory – there was never quite such a social divide, it seemed to me, between notions of what fairness and justice were. That particular prime minister did not accept the rioters had a point and the rioters did not accept Mrs Thatcher was a legitimate leader.

CBSR: Where did the idea for The Jury Room come from?

WH: My law student days in Birmingham! I was forever struck by how few of us know what goes on in a Court never mind the Jury Room – and maybe that’s why my favourite movie is 12 Angry Men. I firmly believe justice must be seen to be done, but instead our court system remains a mystery to most people and I don’t think that helps in the fight against crime.

CBSR: Did it take a long time to create the format that it would take?

WH: I would not say so – it’s a very simple format entirely based on what happens in a Court. First the Prosecution, then the Defence, then the new evidence and then really good stuff – the Jury displaying the emotions and tensions of needing to reach a verdict. What takes the time is to get broadcasters to share my vision!

CBSR: How did you decide on which cases to cover in the series?

WH: I have a very strict criteria list. There has to be a conviction which is disputed by a Defence team which displays enough credibility to convince the Criminal Cases Review Commission that there should be an Appeal court hearing. Most killers plead not guilty yet almost all convicted people are guilty – so you have to be careful to set a high bar when considering which cases are worthy of further investigation and which are not. Just because someone says they are innocent and offers a plausible reason to believe him/her does not mean they are telling the truth.

CBSR: How did you choose the jury members?

WH: They had to match the UK demographic – young, old, mixed cultural and ethnic backgrounds and a good gender mix and then they had to convince me they would not ‘grandstand’ or trivialise  the programme seriously. I needed to be convinced that they realised the cases were real and that we were dealing  with people who had lost  loved ones to a murderer. I asked them all to keep in mind the victim’s relatives and not the convicted person’s relatives when considering their verdicts. Saying someone is not guilty of a murder when they have already been convicted by a real Jury should not be something done lightly. If a juror was able to convince me they ‘got’ that, I was happy.

CBSR: Technically is it a hard show to produce and record?

WH: Amongst the hardest things I have ever done. I take crimes and court cases around with me all the time, reflecting on the nuances, claims and counter-claims. I am not a good dinner companion during a series.

CBSR: Did any of the discussions amongst jury members get heated or some members very passionate about their views?

WH: Yes. Very heated at times with passionate views from all 12 one time or another.

CBSR: You’ve had many roles throughout your career, which one is your favourite?

WH: Presenting live is fabulous, on radio and TV – and daytime, though watched by fewer people than prime time, gives a presenter a little more time to be him or herself. So, I’d have to say ‘Good Morning’ for the BBC. That said, I did a series of Biography shows for ITV and working with Ricky Tomlinson, Paul McCartney and others of that ilk was a buzz. I got to meet my heroes.

CBSR: So, what are you working on at the moment?

WH: Apart from The Jury Room, series 2 of Nurses Who Kill and a drama documentary for 2018 I can’t talk about.  I am also  just recording my first ever Podcast series and loving it.

CBSR: Will Hanrahan, thank you very much.

The Jury Room starts May 28th at 10pm exclusively on CBS Reality.


Related show tags: THE JURY ROOM
MORE FEATURES
Are you ready for more Murder by the Sea?
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

Despite the jollity associated with sandcastles and ice creams, breezy promenade walks and donkey rides, many British seaside towns have a dubious reputation for hosting the most remarkable crimes. The acclaimed CBS Original Series Murder by the Sea is back looking at more deadly tales from the coastlines of the United Kingdom.

Some of the most strange and terrifying murders ever recorded in British criminal history have taken place at our famous seaside resorts; the grand hotels playing host to some of the deadliest murderers imaginable, and the seafronts doubling as stalking grounds for the most wicked of serial killers.

Host Geoffrey Wansell returns, to tell...

SHARE: READ MORE
Season 3 of Voice of a Killer brings more confessions to life this January
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

Hosted by Professor David Wilson, Voice of a Killer is a thrilling CBS Reality Original series which brings to life the nerve jangling audio footage taken from real killers' confessions, bringing the viewer face to face with evil.

Season 3 analyses the confessions of Ian Stewart, who murdered his author wife Helen Bailey in their Hertfordshire home; Bristol kidnappers Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare, and the so-called Coventry Costco killers, David and Roger Cooper.

Catch the first case January 3rd at 10pm.

SHARE: READ MORE
Evidence of Evil is back on CBS Reality
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

Evidence of EvilCBS Reality Original series Evidence of Evil explores and reconstructs some of the most intriguing and startling criminal cases of the past two decades, where technology has changed the course of the investigations and brought the guilty to justice.

The series showcases the dedication and hard work of the investigators, police, scientists, and other experts in their fields. New episodes include the cases of murdered Essex teen Breck Bednar, and 24-year-old Kaitlyn Conley, who killed her ex’s mother, who was also her boss.

Evidence of Evil, weeknights at 10pm.

...
SHARE: READ MORE
Wives with Knives - Season 2 starts January 4th
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

Wives with Knives Season 2Wives with Knives features gripping stories of women who have committed violent crimes against their husbands or lovers.

Some women endured years of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse before fighting back. Others were motivated by greed and jealousy. Each episode features two compelling stories of women who have fought at close range. Using first-hand accounts from the actual women who committed the crimes, as well as police, investigators, family members, and the victims themselves, each episode of Wives with Knives reveals the traumatic events that led up to these deadly confrontations.

Wives with Knives - Season 2 starts Ja...

SHARE: READ MORE
48 Hours is back this January
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

48 Hours investigates the most intriguing crime and justice cases that touch on all areas of the human experience.

Each week the show spearheads in-depth investigations into emotionally compelling stories. For multiple seasons, “48 Hours” has been a leader in original reporting and impact journalism that has helped exonerate wrongly convicted people, caused cold cases to be reopened and solved, and changed lives along the way.

Don't miss any of the gripping, true life drama of 48 Hours weeknights at 8pm.

SHARE: READ MORE
Missed your favourite CBS Reality show? Catch up on Freeview Play
Posted on Wednesday 5th December 2018

Check this out! Catch up with all your CBS Reality favourites now on Freeview Play!

SHARE: READ MORE
CBS Reality's Festive Season starts December 24th
Posted on Sunday 25th November 2018

From December 24th and running each night from 9pm, CBS Reality is giving you the greatest present ever, dedicated nights of all your CBS Reality favourites.

We start on Christmas Eve with Unexpected Evil. When a high school student is declared “Most Likely to Succeed” their families and communities have the highest hopes for their future. But sometimes even the most illustrious student’s life can take a terrible turn. Unexpected Evil tells the story of celebrated students whose lives don’t turn out the way anyone expected.

Then on Christmas Day we take a walk to one of the loneliest places on Earth in Women on Death Row. This series explores the person...

SHARE: READ MORE
Judge Judy to the max in December!
Posted on Sunday 25th November 2018

Judge JudyWith her outspoken style, hard-hitting decisiveness and biting wit, Judge Judith Sheindlin single-handedly reinvented the courtroom genre and in the process has become a genuine pop culture phenomenon.

A former New York family court judge known for her ability to cut through a dispute and get to the core of the emotional issue at hand, Judge Judy acts as a true moral compass for people seeking guidance, resolution and a little common sense in their often complicated lives.

Catch back-to-back Judge Judy weekdays at 9am from December 24th.

SHARE: READ MORE
Homicide's Elite - Season Finale
Posted on Sunday 25th November 2018

HE 112 Production Still 19Detectives David Quinn and Vince Velazquez have worked hundreds of homicides together, and if these two are on the case, the bad guys are going to prison.

Homicide’s Elite features the most baffling, shocking and heartbreaking cases Quinn and Velazquez have worked in their combined 50 years on the street.

From the minute the 911 call comes in, to each twist and turn, to arrest and conviction, this compelling new series takes viewers on a wild ride with these partners in crime.

Season 1 of Homicide's Elite concludes on December 6th at 10pm.

...
SHARE: READ MORE
PICK OF THE WEEK
48 Hours
48 HOURS
Sunday 27 January
6.00 PM
Judge Judy
JUDGE JUDY
Friday 25 January
5.30 PM
It Takes A Killer
IT TAKES A KILLER
Friday 25 January
9.00 PM