Is Showtrial a true story - and when is the next episode of the BBC One drama?

Talitha and her solicitor from Showtrial
(Image credit: BBC/World Productions)

Is Showtrial a true story? It’s the question we were all asking last night as we settled in to watch BBC One’s adaption of the trial that “gripped the nation”.

Made by the same production company as Vigil, Showtrial tells the story of Talitha Campbell’s trial. Following the disappearance of former friend and fellow university student Hannah Ellis, police charge her with conspiracy to commit murder. 

It’s a show that combines privilege with sex, politics and murder. If you’re a fan of shows like Bodyguard, Vigil itself or can't wait for Line of Duty season 7, we reckon it’s definitely one to add to your watch-list.

Is Showtrial based on a true story?

No, the plot of Showtrial is not based on a true story

However, as it looks at how the media, wealth and politics can work together to divert the course of justice, you wouldn’t be blamed for believing it was inspired by real-life events. 

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As show writer Ben Richards said, “The right to a fair trial and the idea of reasonable doubt lie at the heart of a civilised society. 

Showtrial explores how they can be distorted by other factors, in a world where concepts such as fairness, doubt and reason are afforded such diminishing value.”

When is the next episode of Showtrial?

The next episode of Showtrial is on Sunday November 7 2021

The series is five episodes in total and each episode lasts for one hour. They'll be one on every week until November 28, when the final will air. 

Where was Showtrial filmed?

The filming for Showtrial took place at 14 different locations in Bristol, south-west England

Many of the flashback scenes in the upcoming episodes involve a fairground scene, where viewers have to try and piece together whether Talitha knows anything about the mystery disappearance or not. The production team created this on the University of Bristol’s campus earlier this year. 

Outside the courthouse, one of the scenes from Showtrial which some people think is a true story

The exterior of the courthouse was St. George's Church, Credit: BBC.

St. George's Hall on Church Road in Redfield is an art-deco cinema and it was the location for the courtroom scenes in the series, while the outside of the courthouse was St. George's Church in Brandon Hill.

The setting for the exterior of a police station was The Fleece pub in Redcliffe, right in the centre of the city. While other parts of the series were shot at The Bottle Yard Studios, which is in south Bristol. 

Many have pointed out that The Outlaws, Stephen Merchant's new show that also came to the BBC recently, is filmed in Bristol too. The show shares many of the same iconic backdrops as the new drama and much of the filming took place in The Bottle Yard Studios as well.

Showtrial on BBC One cast

You may have seen some members of the Showtrial cast before…

  • Tracey Ifeachor (The Originals, Doctor Who) - Cleo Roberts, the solicitor in charge of Talitha’s case. 
  • Celine Buckens (Free Reign, Warrior) - Talitha Campell, the student accused of conspiracy to commit murder. 
  • Sinéad Keenan (Doctor Who, Three Families) - DI Paula Cassidy, lead detective. 
  • Kerr Logan (Strike, Game of Thrones) - James Thornley, works for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). 
  • Christopher Hatherall (Britannia) - DC Andy Lowell, Cassidy’s partner. 
  • James Frain (Orphan Black, True Detective) - Damian Campbell, Talitha’s father. 
  • Joseph Payne (The Witcher) - Dhillion Harwood, Talitha’s childhood friend and university housemate. 
  • Lolita Chakrabarti (Vigil, Riviera) - Meera Harwood, Dhillion’s mother. 
  • Sharon D Clarke (Doctor Who, Holby City) - Virginia Hoult, Thornley’s superior at the CPS. 
  • Abra Thompson (This Country, Trying) - Hannah Ellis, missing university student. 
  • Claire Lams (Call the Midwife) - Andrea Ellis, Hannah’s mother. 

Catch up on the latest episode of Showtrial on BBC iPlayer. 

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.