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 Hatton Garden: The Inside Story with Ross Kemp
By James W, Sunday 29th January 2023
Ross Kemp tells the untold story of the police investigation into the Hatton Garden Heist – Britain’s biggest burglary.
Interviewing key officers, and using unseen police surveillance footage and the gang’s secretly recorded conversations the film takes us inside one of the Flying Squad’s longest and most challenging operations, ending in the conviction of the final gang member in April this year.
As well revealing the inner workings of the investigation, the film sheds new light on the gang themselves with the first ever TV interview with Kenny Collins – the gang’s lookout – as he tells the inside story of the burglary and their conviction fo...SHARE: READ MORE Season 2 of Murder Book premieres in February on CBS Reality
Posted on Sunday 29th January 2023
In every police station, there is a room filled with boxes of unsolved cases of lives cut short. Each crime is carefully preserved in what police call ‘murder books’ and somewhere in there is the key to finding a killer.
Every episode of Murder Book follows a cold case recently solved by the determination of detectives, prosecutors, criminologists, and family members. These advocates resolutely pursue justice for little-known victims, sometimes for decades—until the killer is caught and made to answer for their crimes.
Murder Book follows the twists and turns of these cases from their very beginnings, all the way through to legal resolution. Featuring interviews with in...SHARE: READ MORE Brand new to CBS Reality - Killers: Caught on Camera
Posted on Sunday 29th January 2023
Killers: Caught on Camera is a brand-new true crime series which has unique access to the video footage that leads to the conviction of killers around the world.
Each case is pieced together like a jigsaw as we link the CCTV, home surveillance, police body camera, and mobile phone footage that builds the evidence to catch the killer.
A victim focused series where friends and family share their memories, photos and videos of loved ones. Police and legal teams explain how the latest technology connects a network of cameras to build a visual montage of evidence for the prosecution. Every lens, from doorbell cams to dashcams to security cameras, captu...SHARE: READ MORE Crimes That Shook Australia this January on CBS Reality
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022
We travel Down Under in January to uncover some of the most disturbing criminal cases ever seen in Oz.
Crimes That Shook Australia is a compelling documentary series that tells stories of the biggest crimes to hit the country.
Through gripping interviews, dramatic reconstructions, and archive footage; we piece together the murders that shocked the nation.
Crimes That Shook Australia showing Wednesday to Friday at 10pm from 11th January on CBS Reality.SHARE: READ MORE Go behind the headlines in January as 48 Hours returns
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022
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.
Never miss an episode!
48 Hours: Season 34 weeknights at 8pm from 16th January on CBS Reality.SHARE: READ MORE Murder by the Sea: Season 8 this January on CBS Reality
Posted on Friday 30th December 2022
Every summer, thousands of holidaymakers flock to the British seaside to enjoy the warm weather, pebble beaches and amusement arcades. But there's a dark side to the British seaside, a sinister underbelly where sins are washed away by the tide. The quaint and idealistic seafront is also stalked by killers who, like the sea itself, have no respect for human life.
Dr. Nell Darby is a crime historian and author who has dedicated her life to understanding the motives of killers. Over the course of her career, she's developed a keen eye for spotting trends in a killer's behaviour. Nowhere are these trends more striking than in the seaside towns of Britain's coastline, which have always seemed to at...SHARE: READ MORE December nights are dedicated to revenge and murder
Posted on Tuesday 29th November 2022
Between Christmas and New Year, CBS Reality contains back-to-back episodes of some of your favorites series. Here's what you can expect:
A chance encounter can be the start of a fairytale romance...but sometimes, it can lead to abuse, betrayal, jealousy and revenge…and ultimately cause a devoted wife to do the unthinkable. Wives With Knives Night on the 26th, profiles real stories about women who are pushed to the brink by a cheating spouse, an abusive significant other or a volatile relationship where enough is enough and their only response is an act of violence. The show features interviews with women who tell these stories from their perspective and give insight into ...SHARE: READ MORE Weekends are filled with real crime this December on CBS Reality.
Posted on Sunday 27th November 2022
This December on CBS Reality, weekends are filled with crime investigations and murder, see below for all you need to know.
If you are a fan of real crime ‘whodunits’ and CSI’s forensic science, then this show will have you clinging to the edge of your seat. But be warned – sometimes the truth can be stranger than fiction. In the series Forensics, scientists and police are the ‘heroes’, science is the ‘secret weapon’, and our presenter the ‘guide’, as we unravel the evidence, put science to work, and discover the truth behind real crime case files. Each programme focuses on a real single crime case that has occurred in the last decade and that was solved ...SHARE: READ MORE The Truth About My Murder continues in November on CBS Reality
Posted on Thursday 27th October 2022
When a murder is committed, it's always a race against time to find the truth - to separate fact from fiction, catch the killer, and to make sure that justice is served. But what happens when the truth vanishes with the victim?
The Truth About My Murder follows forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd, a man who has performed nearly 23,000 autopsies, inclusive of some of the most high-profile cases of recent times. He's learnt that the dead don’t hide the truth and they never lie. Through Dr Richard Shepherd, you'll be hearing directly from the victims.
From a state-of-the-art laboratory, with ground-breaking technology that uses digitally scanned sample bodie...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 21 February
Thursday 9 February
Thursday 23 February