'Stephen' — Stephen Lawrence drama release date, cast, plot, trailer, and everything you need to know

Stephen: Hugh Quarshie as Neville Lawrence, Steve Coogan as DCI Clive Driscoll and Sharlene Whyte as Doreen Lawrence, all in suits and standing in a dark panelled room
Hugh Quarshie as Neville Lawrence, Steve Coogan as DCI Clive Driscoll, and Sharlene Whyte as Doreen Lawrence in ITV drama Stephen. (Image credit: ITV)

New ITV drama Stephen explores the ongoing struggle faced by Doreen and Neville Lawrence — whose son, Stephen, was murdered at the age of 18 in an unprovoked and racially-motivated attack on April 22 1993 — as they campaign to get justice for their son.

ITV's Bafta-winning single film The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence, which aired in 1999, dramatised the murder itself and its immediate aftermath, but at the time it was made, there had been no successful prosecutions for Stephen's murder. The new three-part series picks up events in 2006, 13 years after Stephen's death, with his killers still not behind bars.

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming drama...

When does Stephen begin on ITV?

Stephen begins on Monday August 30 at 9pm on ITV. 

All three episodes will be available to view as a box set on ITV Hub and BritBox after the first episode airs.

What is the plot of Stephen?

The series begins in 2006, at a point where the Metropolitan Police have agreed to re-examine the evidence in the Stephen Lawrence murder case. After discovering the case files in a derelict police building and reading them for himself, DCI Clive Driscoll volunteers to lead the investigation, convinced that the case can still be solved with some "common-sense coppering".

Stephen: DCI Clive Driscoll (Steve Coogan) sits at his table at home, surrounded by the original case files from the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation

DCI Clive Driscoll (Steve Coogan) consults the original case files. (Image credit: ITV)

While Neville Lawrence is pleased to see that someone with integrity is leading this new investigation into his son's death, Doreen is disillusioned with the police and does not hold much faith in Clive. However, Clive is absolutely determined to make up for the failures of his predecessors and sets about organising a careful, thoroughly and intensely detailed examination of the existing evidence.

Who is in the cast of Stephen on ITV?

Hugh Quarshie reprises the role of Neville Lawrence, which he previously played in The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence — which is not something the actor ever expected to happen. 

"The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence for me was a seminal experience," says Hugh. "I've come close to giving up acting a few times, but that was one experience which was really fulfilling, and I think was a sort of vindication of the decision to stick with it. On the first one, I did spend some time talking to Neville and recording his voice so I could get his inflections and his accent right. This time, it didn't feel right or necessary to do that — partly because I've done it before, but also because what are you going to say to a father whose son has been brutally murdered by racists?"

Waterloo Road and Small Axe star Sharlene Whyte plays Doreen Lawrence in the series. "Doreen has had so many poor experiences with the police up until this point," says Sharlene. "For some stranger police officer to offer his services to them as a family doesn't fill her with much confidence — there's so much mistrust built up within Doreen and the Lawrence family already, that this man may just be selling them a pipe dream. I think it's important for Doreen to be wary. But she's a smart woman, so she gave him a space and allowed him to prove himself — and what a good choice she made."

Stephen: Doreen Lawrence (Sharlene Whyte) stands in front of a picture of her murdered son Stephen

Doreen Lawrence (Sharlene Whyte) has spent 13 years campaigning for justice. (Image credit: ITV)

Steve Coogan plays the role of DCI Clive Driscoll in the drama. "As an actor, I don't often play nice people," says Steve. "So it was a nice change to play someone with such simple, unannounced integrity. He had a job on his hands to convince Doreen to trust him, for very good reasons. In so many stories, the cliché is the cop who does a good job by breaking the rules — I liked that this was about a policeman who did a good job by sticking to the rules and laboriously going through them in a very disciplined, dogged way, which is a story we don't often hear."

Is there a trailer for Stephen?

There is, and you can view it below. 

The trailer shows DCI Clive Driscoll determined to get justice for Stephen, while also trying to convince the teenager's family that there is still hope of catching his killers. Soon the police come across some new evidence that changes everything... 

Is The Murder Of Stephen Lawrence still available to watch?

Yes, UK viewers can watch it on ITV Hub here.

Steven Perkins
Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com

Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com, who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.