'Nail Bomber: Manhunt' on Netflix — release date, trailer and everything you need to know

Nail Bomber: Manhunt
David Copeland carried out three bombings across London in Spring 1999. (Image credit: Getty)

Netflix's new film Nail Bomber: Manhunt takes us back to the evening of Friday 30 April 1999, with The Admiral Duncan gay pub in Soho full of people enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to the bank holiday weekend. Suddenly an explosion rips through the building. 

The homemade nail bomb had been planted by far-right fanatic David Copeland as an attack on London’s gay community. 

It was the culmination of a three week bombing campaign — which killed three people and injured 139 — that left Londoner's fearing for their lives and now Netflix will be telling the story of those terrifying days and how evil Copeland was brought to justice in Nail Bomber: Manhunt...

Nail Bomber: Manhunt release date

Nail Bomber: Manhunt launched on Netflix on Wednesday 26 May, 2021. 

Nail Bomber: Manhunt

Nail Bomber: Manhunt — Copeland's bombing of The Admiral Duncan killed three people. (Image credit: Netflix)

What is Nail Bomber: Manhunt about?

Nail Bomber: Manhunt tells the story of how a far-right fanatic set off three bombs in some of London's most vibrant areas in the Spring of 1999, in a bid to strike fear into the heart of the city's black, Asian and gay communities. 

The homemade first device exploded in Brixton, an area with a large black population, on Saturday 17 April 1999 and injured scores of people, while the second went off in Brick Lane on Saturday 24 April, as an attack on the area's large Bangladeshi community. The final nail bomb exploded on Friday 30 April in The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, a well-known gay bar. 

As well as sensitively exploring the atrocities themselves via key figures in each of the three communities and survivors of the attacks, the documentary shows the dark underbelly of the far-right in the UK at the time, with undercover agents and informants speaking on-record for the first time, as well as the fast paced police investigation and unveiling how Copeland’s confession was ultimately obtained.

Rather than give a voice to the racist and homophobic Copeland, who was given six life sentences in June 2000, the documentary shines a light on the strength and unity of the communities, how they rallied around their loved ones and didn’t let what can only be described as evil poison their lives.

The film also includes actual police interviews with Copeland, which have been recreated by actors with the help of transcripts recorded after his 1999 arrest. 

Who is 'Arthur' in Nail Bomber: Manhunt?

Manhunt: Nail Bomber tells the fascinating story of an anti-racist codenamed "Arthur" who spent 10 years infiltrating the far-right and passing information on to the police and other authorities. 

In special interviews, the anonymous individual tells of his experiences within the BNP and how he played a crucial role in catching David Copeland when he recognised him after a CCTV image was published in a newspaper. 

Nail Bomber: Manhunt

Nail Bomber: Manhunt — 'Arthur' was crucial in catching David Copeland. (Image credit: Netflix)

"Arthur was motivated by doing something good," says Nick Lowles, Chief Executive of anti-racism group Hope Not Hate. "There was a reward of £70,000 for identification of David Copeland, but he was never interested in a penny. He spent 10 years within the far-right and it was only last year that some people in his family found out what he had done and that he wasn’t a NAZI after all."

Sean Marland

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.