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A British Show That Has Forced Calls for a New Law Comes to WTTW and PBS

Daniel Hautzinger
The cast of Mr Bates vs. the Post Office stands under a banner reading SOS: Save our Subpostmasters

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A show that has inspired calls for new laws, justice for victims, and the renunciation of an honor given to a government official is coming to PBS and WTTW via Masterpiece. Mr Bates vs The Post Office is a four-part series that dramatizes a huge scandal in the United Kingdom that received little attention until the premiere of the show at the beginning of this year. Starring Toby Jones, whom you might recognize from shows such as Sherlock, as a post office employee blamed for the disappearance of money from the post office. He's like the hundreds of real-life lower-level officials whose lives were ruined by the charges as they were in some cases sent to prison; some even committed suicide.

But the fault actually was with the post office's computer system. Nevertheless, officials for years refused to admit blame, and employees were pursued for over a decade. Mr Bates vs The Post Office has brought renewed attention to the miscarriage of justice, forcing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to call for a new law to pardon victims, as well as massive viewership across the UK. It has even surpassed the launch of Downton Abbey

The show will premiere on WTTW and PBS on April 7, 2024. Written by Gwyneth Hughes of the recent Tom Jones adaptation, it features a cast including various PBS stalwarts such as Alex Jennings (Unforgotten), Julie Hesmondhalgh (The Trouble with Maggie Cole), and Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey), among others.