Four-part factual drama, Little Boy Blue, will recreate the moving moment when the parents and brother of Rhys Jones bravely lined up in front of the crowd at Goodison Park to pay tribute to the murdered schoolboy.
In the days following their son’s tragic murder in August 2007, Melanie and Steve Jones, were supported by the manager, players and staff at Everton FC.
A talented young footballer, Rhys had been devoted to Everton, his favourite football team in the Premiership.
With the Z Cars theme playing as they walked onto the pitch, applause rang out around the Goodison Park stadium for the one-minute tribute in memory of Rhys.
Filming will take place at half time on Sunday 30 October during Everton’s game with West Ham with Sinead Keenan and Brian F. O’Byrne playing Melanie and Steve.
The drama, written by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter and executive producer, Jeff Pope, is produced with Melanie and Steve’s full approval and is based on careful research. It will explore Melanie and Steve’s ordeal following Rhys’s murder as he made his way home to Croxteth Park across the Fir Tree pub car park following football practice.
Melanie and Steve have issued the following statement, which advises of their decision to support the factual drama:
“We wanted to get involved in this drama because we thought it was important for people to understand what really happened – how close Rhys’s murderer came to escaping justice, and how in the end the simple courage shown by some of those involved in these events, and their refusal to be intimidated, led to the conviction of Sean Mercer and others involved in Rhys’s murder. The part Merseyside Police and especially Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly played in this cannot be over-estimated. But beyond this we wanted to show the devastating effect the loss of our beloved son Rhys had on our family, and how the grieving process affected us long beyond the ‘closure’ of a guilty verdict. Though some may find what happened to us shocking we think it is right to tell the whole story.”
Melanie and Steve have also appealed to the Everton fans watching the game on 30 October to remain in their seats at half time to allow filming to take place.
The drama is produced by Kwadjo Dajan (Cilla, The Widower Appropriate Adult as Development Producer) and directed by Paul Whittington (Cilla, The Widower, Mrs Biggs).
Stephen Graham has been cast as SIO Dave Kelly who led the investigation into Rhys’s murder on behalf of Merseyside Police.