Birmingham Stage Company

Christopher Jefferies

10 December 2014

I posted his blog while waiting to hear news about my teacher Christopher Jefferies who is the subject of a TV drama tonight in which I was invited to appear. If you don’t blink, you’ll see me playing the lawyer representing The Sun! It seems timely to post it again:

Watching the media’s treatment of my old English teacher Christopher Jefferies has been an education. Mr Jefferies you will recall was arrested in connection with the tragic murder of Jo Yeates.

It is clear from reading the newspaper articles that the press had no intention of reporting the truth. They were interested in taking particular facts and reporting them with the aim of painting a background against which one could imagine CJ being guilty of this awful crime. And I am not just talking about the tabloids, who you would expect might enjoy this approach.

The Daily Telegraph for example ‘reported’ that Mr Jefferies liked “dark and violent” films. Are these slasher movies, sadistic DVD’s he hides in his drawers? No, this ‘dark and violent’ film is actually a reference to the celebrated French film Nuit et Brouillard by Alain Resnais about the Holocaust. Why didn’t the Telegraph simply say so? Because it wants the reader to wonder whether there might be something ‘dark and violent’ about Mr Jefferies. There is no interest in reporting the truth here, just the desire to create a sensational story. Who needs the truth when you can spin a good yarn for your readers to enjoy?

The same rubbish was trailed in the Times and other newspapers. But should we continue to call them ‘news’papers with a straight face? This isn’t news – it’s gossip, innuendo and twisting the facts to suit their cheap motives which should have no place in serious journalism. They should hang their heads in shame.

For the record, Mr Jefferies taught me for five years in English, film and theatre. I would be staggered if the man all of us knew had anything to do with this awful tragedy – nothing could be more unbelievable.

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