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Is BBC Detective Drama 'Baptiste' Based On A True Story?

Is BBC Detective Drama 'Baptiste' Based On A True Story?

Since true-crime documentaries like Making A Murderer, Abducted in Plain Sight and The Staircase hit screens - we're all fixated on real-life tales of human depravity and the quest for justice. So it's no wonder when the BBC's latest crime drama, Baptiste dropped on Sunday the question on everyone's lips was: is it a true story?

The new thrilling drama series has six hour-long episodes from the creators of The Missing and stars Tchéky Karyo as the insightful but stubborn investigator Julien Baptiste.

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The series starts with the grizzled detective trying to enjoy retired life with his family in Amsterdam, but when Police Commissioner and, rather awkwardly, his former girlfriend Martha Horchner (Barbara Sarafian) asks him to assist with a missing person's case, Julien can't refuse.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

He meets Edward Stratton (Tom Hollander) who has been desperately scouring the cobbled, bicycle-swamped streets of Amsterdam to find his missing niece, sex worker Natalie Rose (Anna Prochniak).

The two men delve into the seedy and criminal underworld of the red light district looking for clues as to where Natalie might be.

But the case takes an unexpected turn and Julien soon finds himself unravelling a complex web of deceit and lies.

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But did the three main characters: Natalie, Edward, or Baptiste exist in real life? It would be a great story if it were but turns out it probably isn't.

Baptiste is a "direct sequel" to BBC drama The Missing, which aired with two series between 2014 and 2016.

Each series followed a separate case of a vanished child, investigated by Julien Baptiste. And while the final series of The Missing did share some parallels with real-life cases, both of the series' storylines were fictional.

And it looks like Baptiste is no different.

However the titular detective does have some real life inspiration: a French detective known by writers Harry and Jack Williams.

Lead actor Tchéky told the Radio Times: "Baptiste, as a French detective, is a homage to somebody the writers know," adding, "He is known to the family and to their father Nigel, who is also a very well-known writer.

"They grew up in this milieu, in this field, and one of their friends is a real detective and follows all sorts of cases in France, so that's why when they started on this missing case they thought of him and decided he was going to be French," he added.

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

In other words: Baptiste is a fictional character inspired by a RL person.

Alongside Tchéky Karyo as detective, Baptiste, the cast is brimming with well-known faces like The Night Manager and Bird Box star Tom Hollander playing the missing girl's worried uncle, Edward Stratton. Natalie herself is played by The Innocents actress Próchniak.

Anastasia Hille has resumed her role from her The Missing as Baptiste's wife, Celia, and Doctors star Talisa Garcia plays Kim Vogel, a sex-worker advocate and cafe owner.

Alec Secareanu, of God's Own Country fame, plays Constantin Baracu, a sex-trafficking gangster. And Europol officer Genevieve Taylor is played by Jessica Raine, former Call the Midwife star.

Lead actor Tchéky explained: "The DNA of The Missing series one and two is still rooted in the story of Baptiste. We are still very much in the same world as The Missing but we see things through the eyes of Julien. Julien is still stubborn, but he has a lot of empathy for people and is still searching for the truth about human nature.

"He realises that although humans are animals, what sets us apart is our brain and we should not forget to use it for the sake of life. Julien still has to deal with missing people, and also with characters having to deal with difficult journeys."

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Entertainment

Amelia Jones

Amelia is a freelance journalist and editor specialising in beauty, health, fitness and lifestyle. She has previously worked for titles including Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Red and the Mail on Sunday.

 

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