White House Farm is a dramatisation of the Jeremy Bamber story, a horrible case that saw the killing of five members of the same family including two children. The show came to ITV in 2020 in week by week episodes and has now arrived on Netflix in a full boxset. It’s a compelling look at what happened in 1985 at a remote farmhouse and the man who was convicted of the murders, as well as the dogged cop who wouldn’t settle for the obvious answer despite the negative impact it had on his career.
While elements of the story are fictionalised it’s a series which tries to capture the essence of the main players as well as the backdrop in 80s Britain which might have hampered justice being done. While parochial compared to massive scale Netflix docs like The Night Stalker: Hunt for a Serial Killer, this is still a fascinating and expertly performed cat and mouse chase which should appeal to fans of true crime of all types.
When the series landed on ITV in the UK we reviewed it episodically. Here we have gathered together our write ups of all six eps for your ease!
Each episode review contains spoilers for the ep in question and the ones before but not for the ones yet to come.
The opening ep gives us background to the era and the main players and introduces us to the tragic events which befell five members of a family. Two parents, their daughter and their two grandsons are shot dead in White House Farm. Is this a murder-suicide committed by daughter Sheila (Cressida Bonas)? Or is there more going on?
Episode two focuses on the investigation, introducing stubborn governor DCI Thomas ‘Taff’ Jones (Stephen Graham) and Columbo-esque scruffy but dogged DS Stan Jones (Mark Addy) who just isn’t happy with details of the case. Destroyed evidence, detail swept under the carpet and inconsistency leave him unsatisfied with the conclusions being drawn. But if it’s not Sheila, then who?
Ep three is a race against the clock as Jeremy (Freddie Fox) moves to have his family’s bodies cremated while Stan Jones desperately doesn’t want any more evidence destroyed. Jeremy’s cousins Ann (Gemma Whelan) and Peter (Oliver Dimsdale) become allies to Stan when they uncover a key piece of the puzzle.
Jeremy’s girlfriend Julie (Alexa Davies) might be crucial to Jeremy’s undoing after his arrogant, callous behaviour begins to alienate her. Meanwhile, down at the station relationships have completely deteriorated between Stan Jones and his boss Taff – a situation only exacerbated when Stan attempts to go above Taff’s head to make complaints about how the case has been handled.
Julie is the focus of this episode after she decides to testify against Jeremy, but is she a reliable witness or a woman scorned? Or possibly both. She’s a fascinating element of the case, and while not guilty of the crime, her involvement is part of a moral dilemma which is explored more in the finale.
In the series closer Jeremy is on trial. There is no question that Bamber is indeed a selfish, arrogant git but that does not make him a murderer. Stan comes into his own, Julie is offered little redemption and final words go to Colin (Mark Stanley), husband to a murdered wife, father to murdered twins.
White House Farm is available to stream on Netflix.