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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Maanya Sachdeva

John Lennon’s murder to be explored in ‘definitive’ TV docuseries


The murder of John Lennon and subsequent investigation of his killer are to be the subject of a new three-part series narrated by Kiefer Sutherland.

Apple TV+ promises to reveal “shocking details” about Lennon’s death, and includes exclusive eyewitness accounts as well as previously-unseen photographs of the crime scene where Mark David Chapman murdered the The Beatles singer near his home in New York’s Upper West Side..

John Lennon: Murder Without A Trial will also follow the police investigation and conviction of Chapman, who shot the legendary Liverpudlian musician on 8 December, 1980.

Apple TV+ described the new series, narrated by Phone Booth star Sutherland and directed by Nick Holt, as “the most thoroughly researched examination” of the shooting which “shocked and saddened the world”.

During filming, the production team was granted extensive Freedom of Information Act (FoI) requests from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Board of Parole and the District Attorney’s office, as they tracked the sensational story of Lennon’s assassination.

The documentary will also feature interviews with defense lawyers and psychiatrists for Chapman, who confessed to killing the “Eleanor Rigby” singer on that fateful day 43 years ago. It will also include accounts from some of Lennon’s closest friends, as the programme charts his staggering influence on pop culture,

Mourners gathered in New York’s Central Park grieving the death of Lennon
— (Getty Images)

Chapman, now 66, travelled from Hawaii to New York, where he met Lennon and asked him to sign a copy of his album Double Fantasy, before gunning the 40-year-old down later that evening. He was arrested outside the Manhattan Dakota apartment – where Lennon lived with his partner Yoko Ono and their son Sean – and told police “I acted alone”as they led him away in handcuffs.

The influential Japanese artist Ono, declined to comment on the series and told The Guardian she does not appear in it.

Chapman, 65, was sentenced to 20 years-to-life in prison for the murder of one of the world’s biggest stars. He has since been denied parole 12 times, with another review coming up in 2024.

At his last hearing before the review board, Chapman said that while he knew it was wrong to kill Lennon, he was motivated by a burning desire for fame, calling it the “evil in my heart”.

“I am not going to blame anything else or anybody else for bringing me there,” Chapman told the board, before they rejected his parole request. “I knew what I was doing, and I knew it was evil, I knew it was wrong, but I wanted the fame so much that I was willing to give everything and take a human life.

“This was evil in my heart. I wanted to be somebody and nothing was going to stop that,” he said, at the hearing on 31 August 2022. “I hurt a lot of people all over the place and if somebody wants to hate me, that’s OK, I get it.”

The Beatles, among the world’s most influential musical acts, broke up in 1974 – six years before Lennon was killed in New York. Earlier this week, it was announced that fans will be finally be treated to the band’s “final” song featuring its original members, including Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.

“Now and Then” will be released on 2 November, after artificial intelligence was used to turn a grainy recording of the track in Lennon’s voice, into the group’s swansong.

A release date for the Apple TV+ documentary is currently awaited.

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