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Stephen Graham cuts a stern figure for new ITV drama about the tragic death of Christopher Alder


Stephen Graham cut a stern figure on Wednesday while shooting Alder, a new ITV drama based on tragic Christopher Alder, who died in police custody in 1998. 

The ex-serviceman was found choked to death in his cell 23 years ago in front of four police officers, but nobody has ever been convicted in relation to his death. 

ITV bosses are hoping to tackle the life and harrowing death of Alder in a poignant series, as the cast were seen hard at work during their first moments on set. 

Work: Stephen Graham cut a serious figure on Wednesday to film the new ITV drama, Alder, which is based on the real-life story of Christopher Alder who died in police custody in 1998

Stephen, 48, wore a navy jacket and chinos as he collected his on-screen son from school, the cameras eagerly following his every move. 

He sported a longer hairstyle and rugged stubble as he also acted out a conversation over the phone while standing outside the school. 

It is yet unknown who Stephen is playing in the drama.  

An actress was seen wearing a simple striped tee and jeans with an olive green rain mac shrugged on top. She opted for comfy white trainers and appeared to go make-up free for the scene to emulate her character in the drama. 

Tragic: Ex-serviceman Alder was found choked to death in his cell 23 years ago in front of four police officers, but nobody has ever been convicted in relation to his death

Tragic: Ex-serviceman Alder was found choked to death in his cell 23 years ago in front of four police officers, but nobody has ever been convicted in relation to his death

Purpose: And now the television network hopes to tackle the life and harrowing death of Alder in a poignant series, as the cast were seen hard at work during their first moments on set

Purpose: And now the television network hopes to tackle the life and harrowing death of Alder in a poignant series, as the cast were seen hard at work during their first moments on set

The star chatted to another actress who donned distressed jeans and a padded black jacket.  

A woman clad in a police uniform was also seen filming a new scene and delivering a concerned expression.   

At a separate location, a gentleman wore police gear as he stood next to a patrol car for filming. 

Mr Alder, a father-of-two who served during the Falklands War, was choked to death at the feet of four officers on a police cell floor on April 1 1998.

Doting father: Stephen, 48, wore a navy jacket and chinos as he collected his on-screen son from school, the cameras eagerly following his every move

Doting father: Stephen, 48, wore a navy jacket and chinos as he collected his on-screen son from school, the cameras eagerly following his every move

New look: He sported a longer hairstyle and rugged stubble as he acted out a conversation over the phone

Stephen sported a neater look in prison drama Time, which aired earlier this year

New look: He sported a longer hairstyle and rugged stubble as he acted out a conversation over the phone

He had been punched during an argument outside a nightclub in his home city of Hull and was taken to hospital, where he reportedly became hostile, perhaps because of his head injury. 

He was then discharged into the hands of Humberside Police, who arrested him for a breach of the peace and took him to Queen’s Gardens police station.

By the time he arrived, he was said to be unconscious with his trousers around his knees. He was left handcuffed on the floor while the four officers looked on and did nothing.

In character: A woman clad in a police uniform was also seen filming a new scene and delivering a concerned expression

In character: A woman clad in a police uniform was also seen filming a new scene and delivering a concerned expression.

Premise: Mr Alder, a father-of-two who served during the Falklands War, was choked to death at the feet of four officers on a police cell floor on April 1 1998

Premise: Mr Alder, a father-of-two who served during the Falklands War, was choked to death at the feet of four officers on a police cell floor on April 1 1998

They could allegedly be heard on CCTV footage making monkey noises as he lay dying for 11 minutes. They later claimed that they thought he was ‘putting on an act’.

But a damning report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found the men responsible of ‘unwitting racism’. 

It concluded that PC Matthew Barr, PC Neil Blakey, PC Nigel Dawson and Sergeant John Dunn – who all refused to co-operate with the IPCC investigation – were guilty of a ‘most serious neglect of duty’.

The officers were charged with manslaughter but acquitted at Teesside Crown Court in 2002 on the orders of the trial judge. 

In another blow to the family of Alder, his body was discovered in a mortuary in 2011, more than a decade after he was apparently buried.

Incident: He had been punched during an argument outside a nightclub in Hull and was taken to hospital, where he reportedly became hostile, perhaps because of his head injury

Incident: He had been punched during an argument outside a nightclub in Hull and was taken to hospital, where he reportedly became hostile, perhaps because of his head injury

His loved ones thought they had given him a dignified burial in 2000 after he died in  horrific circumstances two years earlier.

But his devastated sister, Janet, was informed that her brother’s body was still in a mortuary – and detectives subsequently identified a woman named Grace Kamara as the person buried in his place.

The new ITV show will explore Adler’s story, but it is unclear if they will mention the mortuary incident following his death.

It isn’t the first time a TV programme has raised awareness about the deceased trainee computer programmer.

Shocking: He was then taken to Queen’s Gardens police station but by the time he arrived, he was said to be unconscious with his trousers around his knees as four officers looked on and did nothing

Shocking: He was then taken to Queen’s Gardens police station but by the time he arrived, he was said to be unconscious with his trousers around his knees as four officers looked on and did nothing

Line of Duty was praised earlier this year for paying a touching tribute to Alder and Stephen Lawrence, another man who passed away in a racially motivated stabbing.

The BBC police show introduced a new storyline which saw character Lawrence Christopher killed in a racially motivated attack, and he was named in honour of the two men. 

During the episode, DC Chloe Bishop [Shalom Brune-Franklin] explained that he had been assaulted by a group of white youths and later died in police custody while officers made monkey noises at him, in stark similarity to both of the real-life cases.

Writers used several elements from the real cases, with many fans commending the ‘genius’ show for speaking out about institutional racism of the police.

Tribute: It isn't the first time a TV programme has raised awareness about the deceased veteran as Line of Duty paid tribute to Alder and Stephen Lawrence - another man who passed away in a racially motivated stabbing - through a character (pictured) with a similar storyline

Tribute: It isn’t the first time a TV programme has raised awareness about the deceased veteran as Line of Duty paid tribute to Alder and Stephen Lawrence – another man who passed away in a racially motivated stabbing – through a character (pictured) with a similar storyline

During an emotional scene, Chloe explained to Steve Arnott how their new person of interest Marcus Thurwell, played by surprise actor James Nesbitt, was the SIO of the Lawerence Christopher case – a case that journalist Gail Vella was investigating.

She detailed how the young architect was attacked outside a railway station in 2003 and a passerby ‘called triple nine’ seeing the victim taken to custody where he died later that night.

Chloe continued that he had an ‘undiagnosed skull fracture’ which ‘contained pieces of lead suggesting he’d been hit by piping’ and that custody officers had made ‘monkey noises as he lay dying’.

Real cases: Stephen Lawrence, 18,  was murdered in a racially motivated attack in London in April 1993

Real cases: Lawrence, 18, was murdered in a racially motivated attack in London in April 1993 and his family claimed that corrupts police officers protected his murderers

Although police first thought his death was gang related, Chloe explained that he was later discovered to be an architect who had never had any trouble with the law.

Explaining that the officers took early retirement and claimed thousands of pounds in compensation, Chloe became visually distressed causing Arnott to ask if she was okay. Chloe replied, ‘How could anyone be okay?’.

The story caused many fans to realise that elements from both Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder’s murders had been used to create the character.

New story: On LOD, DC Chloe Bishop explained that Lawrence Christopher had been assaulted by a group of white youths and later died in police custody, drawing parallels with Alder and Lawrence's stories

New story: On LOD, DC Chloe Bishop explained that Lawrence Christopher had been assaulted by a group of white youths and later died in police custody, drawing parallels with Alder and Lawrence’s stories



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