Now that the second of the three episodes of the BBC’s 2016 drama series Rillington Place has aired, it becomes clearer that the so-called ‘Standard Version’ of events – that is, the account embodied in Ludovic Kennedy’s 1961 book Ten Rillington Place – has, as expected, been used as the basis. As before, the atmospherics and portrayals are exceedingly good and make for chilling and impressive viewing – even the apparent discrepancies about Timothy Evans’s seemingly variable accent has been explained as symptomatic of his ‘chameleon’ persona and desire for acceptance, which sounds plausible although observations have been made, by those in a position to have knowledge, that his accent was indeed Welsh and, thus, this portrayal is actually erroneous.
But, for those who also share a desire to know and understand more of the truth of what really happened, it must be borne in mind that Kennedy’s avowed intention was to ‘make the case against Christie’ and anything that contributed to that was used in his book whilst things that ran counter to his narrative were apt to be overlooked or dismissed. For example, there was never any evidence that Christie was involved in abortion – indeed, a statement made by the police declared that he was not – and, at autopsy, Beryl Evans was found to have been neither gassed nor sexually assaulted, and there was no evidence of attempted abortion.
The research that I have long carried out in the preparation of my book led me to the view that the Standard Version is probably the least likely account of what really took place. My analysis endeavours to set out all the reasons that make Christie a more knowledgeable participant in the Evans murders than he admitted at the time, for reasons that become clear, but not the actual killer.
We now have another week to await the final episode which I, as with many others, will be watching with great interest.