Channel 4 has commissioned a new 3-part documentary exploring the false grooming ring allegations that “tore apart” the community of Barrow.
Web of Lies: The Barrow Grooming Ring Scandal (working title) is being made by Expectation.
Described as a multi-perspective and multi-layered story, it starts in May 2020, as the UK emerged from the lockdown.
It’s then that 19-year-old Ellie Williams wrote a Facebook post, alongside a photograph of her bruised and battered face and body. She stated that she’d been the victim of a grooming gang and had been raped and trafficked multiple times.
It went viral, sparked outrage and protests in Barrow, as supporters demanded justice.
However, 2 and a half years later, Williams was found guilty of 8 counts of perverting the course of justice, and accused of being a liar and a fraud.
The series will be directed by Sophie Robinson, recently BAFTA-nominated for her Channel 4 film, “My Dead Body”. It will be executive produced for Expectation by Colin Barr and produced by Sian Guerra.
“This is a story that connects to so many thought-provoking issues and challenging questions about the world we live in,” said Colin Barr, Creative Director, Factual/Factual Drama, Expectation.
“Thankfully, in Sophie and Sian we have a director and producer who will confront those issues with a fearlessness and honesty which I know will make an unforgettable, high-impact series.”
The documentary uses online archive and features exclusive access to the men accused. It will also talk to internet sleuths, duped charity workers and local Asian restaurant owners.
“This story not only speaks volumes about race relations in modern Britain, but also asks probing questions about what we believe, who we believe and why,” said Alisa Pomeroy, Head of Documentaries.
“In the capable hands of Sophie and Colin, this will be a carefully balanced and sensitive series, exploring some of the burning issues of our times.”