Media release: STV Productions and Tod Productions secure rights for true crime book


TOD Productions and production partner, STV Productions, have optioned The Jigsaw Murders: The True Story of the Ruxton Killings and the Birth of Modern Forensics – a new, true crime book written by journalist and author, Jeremy Craddock.

Due for release in 2021, the book throws new light on the murder mystery that electrified the public and press across the UK in the 1930s.

In September 1935, the bodies of a doctor’s wife and the family nanny were disposed of in the Scottish borders. Sensationally billed as ‘the Jigsaw Murders’, it took the genius of Professors Sydney Smith and John Glaister in Edinburgh, and their ground-breaking forensic techniques, to painstakingly piece together and identify the bodies. But as justice closed in, and, armed with the most famous lawyer in the land, could the doctor – accused of the pair’s murder – escape justice?

In The Jigsaw Murders, author and journalist Jeremy Craddock tells for the first time in detail the story of these horrific killings. He brings to life all of the main players, from the enigmatic and charismatic doctor, to his victims; and the first-rate police officers, lawyers and scientists
who grappled with a landmark case that led to the birth of modern forensics.

Elaine Collins, MD of Tod Productions, who identified the potential in bringing this book to screen, said: “Jeremy Craddock is a hugely talented writer and journalist, who is not only determined to excavate this brutal story and the consequent scientific breakthroughs that still influence today’s forensics, but to give an unprecedented voice to the female victims.

“I’m excited to develop this complex and multi-layered crime story for television, to give presence to the victims, and to dramatise the characteristically brilliant scientists at work in 1930s Scotland.”

Author of The Jigsaw Murders, Jeremy Craddock, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that
The Jigsaw Murders has been optioned for TV by Elaine Collins and Tod Productions. I am a huge fan of her work, especially Shetland and Vera, and I feel privileged that she has seen potential in my work. This is a story that has haunted me since I was a child, a landmark case that changed the way forensic pathologists help to solve murders.

“And yet it is a case that is largely forgotten today. Most previous accounts focus solely on the lurid aspects, ignoring the human drama behind it all. My book – and hopefully a TV drama – will tell the full story of the people behind the sensational headlines for the first time.”

David Mortimer, managing director of STV Productions, said: “We’re thrilled to have Tod as part of the STV Productions family and The Jigsaw Murders is a fantastic addition to their already strong development slate of distinctive, high-quality shows. There’s a real appetite for true crime-based drama and we’re delighted Elaine Collins at Tod has seen the huge potential in this exciting new work, which we know will hold tremendous appeal.”

The rights deal was negotiated by SoloSon Media in association with Hardman & Swainson. The publisher of The Jigsaw Murders is The History Press.

In 2017, Elaine Collins of Tod Productions signed an exclusive deal with STV Productions to develop and co-produce a slate of high quality, writer-led TV drama projects.


Notes for editors:

About Tod Productions

Tod Productions was created in 2017. Elaine Collins, managing director, was previously a producer and executive producer at ITV Studios. There, she optioned Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope novels which she then developed and produced as Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn. The ITV1 hit show has been commissioned for its 11th series. She was also responsible for developing and executive producing three series of the hugely-successful BBC One crime drama, Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, now in its sixth series. Before establishing Tod, Elaine was creative director at BBC Drama.

About STV Productions

STV Productions is one of the UK’s leading content businesses. Led by award-winning executive, David Mortimer, the company has an impressive track-record of success across drama, entertainment and factual, with commissions spanning BBC One and Two, ITV, Channel 4, BBC Scotland, Discovery, VH1/MTV and Sky One.

In drama – critically acclaimed thriller The Victim for BBC One was watched by more than 7.2m. TV film, Elizabeth is Missing, featuring two-time Academy Award winner, Glenda Jackson, was broadcast on BBC One, achieving a 5.5m consolidated audience and receiving five-star reviews. Other productions include 20 series of Antiques Road Trip and nine series of sister programme, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip for BBC with a further bumper commission for another 140 episodes of the popular programmes to air over the next two years; six series of Catchphrase and four of Celebrity Catchphrase for ITV; and Sex Tape, a four-part relationship series for Channel 4. Factual commissions include Britain’s Polar Bear Cub for Channel 4, two series of Prison: First & Last 24 Hours for Sky One, Ross Kemp Behind Bars – Inside Barlinnie for ITV and Fire in the Night, an award-winning feature documentary to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

In 2019, STV acquired a majority stake in award-winning unscripted producer Primal Media, with recent productions including documentaries Home Free for Channel 4 and Jerk for BBC Three. The business has an exclusive development and co-production deal with respected drama producer, Elaine Collins of TOD Productions; and recently announced the acquisition of a minority stake in high-end drama producer, Two Cities, makers of Patrick Melrose (Sky).

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