The Real Essex Boys
Crime and Investigation - 9pm
Who's in it?
One of the most notorious gangland crimes in British history was explored in this riveting programme, which featured interviews with key players as well as suitably gritty reconstructions.
In a nutshell
The Triple Rettendon murders of 1995 are basically the modern British equivalent of America's St Valentine's Day Massacre: a moment of viciousness that's gripped the popular imagination, fascinating crime writers and inspiring movies (most notably Essex Boys, starring Sean Bean). The facts in the eyes of the law are simple: on a dark lane in Essex in the depths of December, three professional criminals were shot dead while sitting in a parked Range Rover. The culprits were their mob rivals Jack Whomes and Michael Steele, who were soon sentenced to life inside.
But do the facts add up? This programme raised its eyebrow and got stuck in, interviewing the brother of John Whomes, and focusing on some rather tasty new telephone evidence that rather complicated the original narrative of Whomes and Steele being cold blooded executioners. Not that it seems to matter – their convictions have yet to be overturned.
What's the verdict?
Most coverage of violent crime nowadays seems to focus on teenage inner-city gangs armed with knives, so it's easy to forget that "old school" gangsters are still at work, following in the footsteps of the Krays. Exposing their world, and the events that led to three brutal murders, this was a must-see for true crime buffs.