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The Murder Trial

Tue Jul 9, 9-11.05pm, C4

We’ve become so accustomed to watching dramatised trials in the context of TV and cinema that being confronted with the real thing is a discombobulating experience. But this film, which is the culmination of three years of negotiation with the Scottish High Court, is compelling, disturbing, upsetting and even, on occasion, mildly amusing.

It follows the trial of Nat Fraser who stands accused of murdering his wife Arlene. But it’s a complex affair; for a start there’s no body and no murder weapon. There are also several witnesses whose testimony raises doubts about everything we’ve heard. Ultimately though, it’s the authenticity that is so striking. Expect real police footage, real crime exhibits, real squirming witnesses and real lives up for grabs. There may be ethical questions to answer about whether this material is really suitable for primetime entertainment purposes. But it’s hard to deny its fascination.