Netflix documentary on murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier to air next year

Makers of three-part series say they have exclusive access to murdered French woman’s family

A three-part documentary series about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Co Cork is to be broadcast next year by Netflix, and the makers have been given exclusive access to Ms Toscan du Plantier's family.

The series, which is being made by award winning documentary making company, Lightbox, will also include interviews with Ian Bailey, who was convicted last year in his absence in France of Ms Toscan du Plantier's murder at her holiday home at Toormore near Schull in 1996.

Simon Chinn, co-founder of Lightbox and executive producer of the series, said it would "take viewers on a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns as we carefully unravel an extraordinary story from its beginning, 24 years ago, to the present day.

“As the only documentary project ever to have been made with the blessing of Sophie’s family, we feel it’s critical to properly understand who Sophie was as a person and the events that led her to her terrible fate,” he said.


"The series will include interviews with the key players in Ireland and France, including the man convicted in France of Sophie's murder, Ian Bailey, and we will drill down into the evidence surrounding a murder investigation which remains mired in anguish and controversy."

The Lightbox series, which is being made with assistance of Ms Toscan du Plantier's cousin, Frederic Gazeau, who is listed as an executive producer, will be screened next year by Netflix, which has more than 195 million paying subscribers in more than 190 countries.

The documentary series is directed by Englishman, John Dower, whose 2008 documentary, Thriller in Manilla about the 1975 fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier won several awards and it is produced by Trinity College Dublin graduate, Sarah Lambert who has worked for the BBC.


Chinn said “the case has been surrounded by controversy from the outset, leaving a prime suspect - Bailey - who was never tried in Ireland but who has been found guilty in the court of public opinion, and a family in search of justice for nearly a quarter of a century”.

“Last year a French court tried and convicted Bailey in his absence although the Irish courts have recently ruled against his extradition so he will remain a free man in Ireland while Sophie’s family continue to fight for justice. Bailey maintains his innocence.”

The Lightbox documentary is the second documentary series to screen next year on the murder with Oscar winning Irish director Jim Sheridan’s documentary series on the killing, ‘Murder at the Cottage: The search for Justice for Sophie’ due to screen on Sky early next year.

Sheridan, who directed the highly acclaimed My Left Foot, about writer Christy Browne, and In the Name of the Father, about the Guildford Four, has been working with Mr Bailey on the documentary for more than six years and features exclusive interviews with the 63-year-old Englishman.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested and questioned by gardaí about Ms Toscan du Plantier's murder but never charged in Ireland after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided he should not be prosecuted. He has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing and denied he ever made any admissions about her death.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times