BBC One Sherwood: The Nottinghamshire killings which inspired chilling new drama

By Rebecca Sherdley

As new BBC fictional crime drama Sherwood is soon to hit our screens, Legal Affairs Correspondent Rebecca Sherdley looks back at two tragic events in Nottinghamshire which inspired the six-part series.

Two killings happened in Nottinghamshire, quite separately, in the space of weeks back in 2004 - those of newly-wed Chanel Taylor and 62-year-old ex-miner Keith Frogson.

The atrocities sparked one of the biggest police manhunts in British history.

Both killers had gone to ground in woodland near Annesley Woodhouse.

Officers and their search dogs surged forward into dense woodland as they combed for clues about the whereabouts of the two suspects - Terry Rodgers, who had shot Chanel, and Robert Boyer, who had slain Mr Frogson with a crossbow and Samurai sword.

The search for Rodgers involved a team of more than 450 officers from forces across the UK, cost more than £1.5m, and led to a desparate community appeal to find him with "wanted" posters pasted to lamp-posts and in shop windows.

Terry Rodgers with daughter Chanel Taylor on her wedding day (Nottinghamshire Police / PA)

Days earlier Boyer disappeared into the same woodland. The frantic search involved overhead support from helicopters deploying heat-detection equipment and 30 dog teams from eight forces.

Many of the officers were armed because at the time they did not know if former security man Rodgers or Boyer had weapons.

Rodgers eluded police for nearly three weeks after constructing a shelter in the woods.

He was finally found on August 16, the day after Boyer had been discovered.

Rodgers, 55, admitted the manslaughter of his newly-wed daughter Chanel on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but denied her murder. However, prosecutors refused to accept his plea, and a murder trial was set for March 6, 2006, but he went on hunger strike and died in February, 2006. He never disclosed why he killed her.

Boyer, 42, later pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Keith Frogson and at Nottingham Crown Court was given an indefinite hospital order. On the night of the killing, he waited for Mr Frogson to return from the pub, shot him with the crossbow and then attacked him with the sword.

Boyer had mental health problems and wrongly believed that Mr Frogson was out to get him.

Police search woodlands near Hucknall (PA / Rui Vierra)

Sherwood

Filming for the show started during the summer of 2021, but the series doesn't have a release date yet.

The drama - starring David Morrissey, Robert Glenister and Lesley Manville - follows two police officers - one from the local force and one from the Met Police - as they try to solve two "shocking and unexpected" murders.

It is inspired in part by real events, although purely fictional, and set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where executive producer James Graham, writer of "Brexit: The Uncivil War", grew up.

At the heart of Sherwood lie two killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt.

As suspicion and antipathy build - both between lifelong neighbours and towards the police forces who descend on the town - the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners' strike three decades before.

Ian St Clair (David Morrissey), Julie Jackson (Leslie Manville) and Kevin Salisbury (Robert Glenister) starring in BBC One drama Sherwood (BBC)

Sherwood is a contemporary crime drama that explores for the first time the controversial deployment of so-called ‘spycops’ around Britain, and a distinctly human story of a community forced to re-examine the terrible events of decades ago, for which it still bears the scars.

It is also a powerfully resonant and timely examination of the frayed social and political fabric of modern day, post-Brexit Britain.

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