Showtrial: Cast, plot and is it based on a true story?

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Showtrial on BBC One

Showtrial starts tonight (Picture: BBC)

Showtrial returns to BBC One tonight after gripping viewers with its debut episode, which shows both sides of a legal battle in a high-profile cast.

The hotly anticipated series, from the makers of Line of Duty, sees both defence and prosecution fighting for their version of what really happened to Talitha Campbell, who stands accused of conspiring to murder a fellow student.

If you’re one of the many viewers who can’t wait to see what happens next – or if you’re just playing catch-up – here’s what you need to know about the series.

What is the plot of Showtrial?

Showtrial explores the trial of Talitha Campbell, the estranged daughter of a wealthy property developer, who is charged with conspiring to murder fellow university student Hannah Ellis.

The trial that follows places the victim, accused, and their families, in the eye of a media storm. Into that storm enters Cleo Roberts, the duty solicitor on the night of Talitha’s arrest.

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Refusing her father’s help, Talitha wants Cleo to lead her defence against a prosecution weaponising Talitha’s gender as well as her social privilege against her.

‘From arrest to verdict, Cleo and defence vie with the prosecution to convince us of the truth about Talitha: Damaged scapegoat? Or cold-blooded killer?’ the official synopsis teases.

Who is in the cast for Showtrial?

Abra Thompson and Celine Buckens lead the cast of Showtrial, playing Hannah Ellis and Talitha Campbell respectively.

Prior to landing her role in the BBC drama, Abra appeared in two episodes of This Country, playing Sophie Huxley. She also starred in season two of the Apple TV plus show Trying, alongside Rafe Spall and Esther Smith.

Celine Buckens in Showtrial

Celine Buckens plays Hannah Ellis (Picture: BBC)

Celine has previously played the role of Mia MacDonald in the Netflix series Free Rein. In 2020, she began portraying the role of Sophie Mercer in the Cinemax series Warrior. 

Tracy Ifeachor takes on the role of duty solicitor Cleo Roberts, who is on call the night that Talitha is arrested and decides to take on the case despite mounting odds.

Tracy Ifeachor as Cleo Roberts in Showtrial

Tracy Ifeachor plays duty solicitor Cleo Roberts (Picture: BBC)

Prior to Showtrial, Tracy appeared in The Originals, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Jason Bourne spin-off Treadstone. She is arguably best known for her portrayal of Abigail Naismith in both parts of the Doctor Who Christmas special, The End of Time.

Elsewhere, ITV’s Little Boy Blue actress Sinead Keenan takes on DI Paula Cassidy.

Sinead has starred in BBC Three’s supernatural series Being Human and Doctor Who.

Game Of Thrones’ Kerr Logan, who Matthos Seaworth in the acclaimed HBO series, portrays Crown Prosecutor James Thornley in Showtrial.

Is Showtrial based on a true story?

Showtrial is a timely look at how wealth, politics and prejudice conspire to distort the quest for justice.

Although it is not based on a true story, its themes are similar to real-life events.

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

‘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.’

Showtrial continues tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

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