The star's actor father warned Freddie about the perils that might come with playing such an infamous figure...
Freddie Fox will be taking on the darkest role of his career to date when he plays murderer Jeremy Bamber in ITV's powerful new drama White House Farm.
On the morning of 7th August 1985, Britain woke to the shocking news that a family of five had been brutally murdered in their Essex farmhouse.
When police discovered the bodies of Nevill and June Bamber, both 61, their adopted daughter Sheila Caffell, 28, and her twin six-year-old sons, Daniel and Nicholas, they believed it was an open-and-shut case…
Sheila had a history of mental- health problems, so detectives thought she’d murdered her family before turning the gun on herself, yet DS Stan Jones had doubts about Sheila’s adopted brother Jeremy Bamber, then 24, who first called the police to the farm.
Now, the story of the tragedy, and the police investigation, have been dramatised in ITV’s new six-part series White House Farm. Produced with the help of Colin Caffell – whose two sons were among the victims – the drama follows the case through to Jeremy Bamber’s murder conviction the following year, and aims to shed new light on a tragedy that still haunts those involved.
Deciding whether to take on the part of Bamber was a big decision for Freddie. Luckily the star, who belongs to the famous Fox acting dynasty that includes his sister Emilia Fox (Silent Witness), was able to turn his actor father, Edward Fox for some advice.
"My father remembered the case," says Freddie. "The scripts were very strong, but I was worried about what might happen after I'd played the part. My father knew I'd be excited at the prospect of playing such an interesting role in a great TV series, but said I should think about it carefully. I thought about it long and hard and I think my decision to do it has been vindicated!"
With an all-star cast including Cressida Bonas (who plays Sheila), Stephen Graham (DCI Thomas "Taff Jones") and Mark Addy (DS Stan Jones, the detective who suspects Jeremy Bamber), the six-part series is sure to be a hit with viewers.
Bamber, now, 58, is serving a whole life sentence but maintains he's innocent. Freddie says he hasn't spoken to Bamber.
"We didn't think there would be any benefit in speaking to him," explains Freddie. "If he wants to watch the drama then I feel pretty easy about it, that's his choice. If he doesn’t then I understand that and it’s not really my business to think about what he wants. My commitment is to the character on the page, to the script and to the team that have put this together meticulously with a great deal of care, research and integrity."
White House Farm begins on ITV on Wednesday 8 January at 9pm
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Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.