Responsible Child: The gripping new BBC drama based on a real-life story

The BBC has been releasing one gripping show after the other this season, and it looks like it has no plans to slow down for Christmas and in the new year.

Just last week, we watched The Case of Sally Challena highly-anticipated documentary based on the story of 65-year-old mum-of-two Sally, given a life sentence after beating her 61-year-old husband to death with a hammer following decades of abuse and coercive control.

Responsible Child
BBC

Now the broadcaster has yet another surprise drama coming to BBC Two tonight and this time, it is a one-off drama inspired by a jaw-dropping true story.

Responsible Child is a 90-minute crime drama which looks into England and Wales’ minimum age of criminal responsibility by acting out the real-life case around Ray, a 12-year-old boy who is charged with the murder of his abusive stepfather alongside his 23-year-old brother, Nathan. Despite his young age, Ray, who is a carer for his younger half siblings, is tried for the crime as an adult.

Responsible Child
BBC

The drama has been written by Sean Buckley, the man behind Skins, and is said to be loosely based around the real-life case of Jerome Ellis, 14, and his brother Joshua, 23, who murdered their stepfather Neil Tulley in 2014 after attacking him with a knife while he lay on the sofa in their family home.

At the time of the trial, the court was told that the boys had wounded their stepfather 60 times while he was ‘asleep or nearly asleep.’ Responsible Child consists of a similar plot.

Speaking of the trial, the BBC explained that the judge said it was a ‘tragic case’ where Jerome had been neglected. ‘Given your youth, this court hopes that whatever therapy or psychotherapy you receive will ensure that upon release you will be able to lead a normal life,’ the judge said at the time.

Responsible Child
BBC

As for the TV adaptation, the show’s director Nick Holt added: ‘Whilst making the film, I discovered that in England, we put children as young as ten on trial for murder. It’s an extraordinary and little-known aspect of our justice system. Ten is one of the lowest ages in the world and breaches our obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

‘This is a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time, since I attended the trial on which our film is based, and I’m delighted to be working with Kudos and the BBC.’

Responsible Child will air on BBC Two on Monday 16 December at 9pm