Netflix is home to almost every kind of murder mystery and crime documentary from around the world. Some of them showcase the bone-chilling atrocities committed by serial killers, and others still leave us wondering who the killer might actually be. To its plethora of unsolved murder mystery documentaries, Netflix has just added another infamous and heart-wrenching story that chronicles the life and death of famed British TV presenter Jill Dando. The three-part docuseries, Who Killed Jill Dando? delves deep into the mystery, from her rise to prominence in her TV presenting career to her dead body being found at her doorstep, prompting viewers to reflect on the fateful events.
In 1999, Jill Wendy Dando was at the height of her successful career as a journalist and TV presenter when tragedy struck. Along with the famous radio and TV presenter Nick Ross, Jill was co-presenting Crimewatch, a BBC TV program that garnered massive popularity, making Jill Dando a globally renowned icon. She was the favorite TV presenter for much of the nation as well as for her colleagues, who really praised her work. She was widely known for her friendly and warm demeanor and onscreen presence, which would definitely prompt you to fall in love with her charm. In the docuseries, her colleagues, from her hairdresser to her former boss, drew a comparison between Jill and Princess Diana. Both of them had a similar hairstyle as well, but Jill’s former hairdresser specifically mentioned it was Jill who did it first. However, the men in her life were another highlight of the show. Her relationships with the BBC executive Bob Wheaton and her fiancé at the time of her death, Dr. Alan Farthing, gained attention in Who Killed Jill Dando?
Talking about the tragic murder case of Jill Dando, which almost shook the nation, we came back to April 26th, 1999, on 29 Gowan Avenue in Fulham, London. She was found dead at her doorstep, prompting a passerby to dial the emergency number immediately. Although the passerby checked that she was not breathing at the time, she was rushed to the hospital and subsequently pronounced dead. It was a tragic day for the entire office of the BBC, specifically for her colleagues who had to read the news of her death while facing the camera. It was difficult for them to contain all the emotions that were running inside them. The documentary masterfully demonstrates that nuance with some footage from earlier BBC television broadcasts in 1999.
It was even tougher for the investigators to unveil the murder mystery. First, the men in her life, and the individuals she had worked with became the suspects. For example, Bob Wheaton became a suspect due to the money transaction that took place between Jill and him prior to her death. Furthermore, her agent, Roseman, was also interrogated for the money he owed to her. However, each of them denied their involvement in the crime and presented their alibi, proving that they could not achieve anything by carrying out this crime. One by one, almost every suspect was ruled out of this murder mystery.
After a year of investigation and fruitless results, a lead was eventually found. The investigative team started surveillancing an individual named Barry George, who lived about a mile from Jill’s house. He had a history of sexual offenses, impersonating police officers, and many other antisocial behaviors; however, he had no direct link to the murder of Jill Dando. Even though the police didn’t have any strong evidence against Barry, other than some circumstantial stuff, Barry George was arrested and charged with the murder of the journalist. In this three-part documentary series, the third episode fully concentrated on Barry George and how his legal representative, Michael Mansfield, defended his client against the allegation of the murder. While according to the police, it was Barry George who committed the murder, Michael believed the nature of the crime indicated more than one individual’s involvement in it. He pointed out that the investigators should have emphasized the evidence present at the crime scene, like the bullet used in the murder. It had a very rare crimping on the cartilage, mostly seen in the Balkan War in Serbia.
Previously, the possibility of Serbian involvement in the murder case was brought up, as prior to her murder, Jill had talked about the Balkan war in one of her shows on Crimewatch, which might have made her a target of a terrorist attack. However, the investigation team nullified the possibility of Serbia’s involvement because it might not have given them ample space to investigate the case. Therefore, despite the lack of proper evidence and only relying on the circumstances, Barry Geroge was imprisoned. Barry appealed the acquittal several times, and on his third appeal in 2007, the court released him from prison in 2008. Barry George is now a free man, although, after his release, several newspapers continued to publish articles accusing him of murdering Jill Dando, adding to several other incidents that showed his penchant for violence against women. As we all know, in the end, the mystery of Jill Dando’s murder remains unsolved to this day. The list of suspects only grew, which only deepened the mystery but never provided a satisfying conclusion to the case.
Who Killed Jill Dando? is a docuseries that depicts the various nuances of a high-profile murder case and its investigation process. It not only showcases Jill Dando’s life and her tragic death but also gives us an insight into how a flawed police investigation helps any criminal get away, even if he commits such cold-blooded murders in broad daylight. This case cannot be judged in a singular way. Its multifaceted nature makes the case more complicated and ultimately leaves only a haze in the end. The documentary series presents this horrifying case in front of us by masterfully organizing one incident after another. The series is very engaging and keeps us hooked to the screen with astonishing revelations at every turn. A strong and successful woman like Jill Dando inspires us as much as her tragic passing instills fear in our minds. The tragic murder case of Jill Dando was a prime example that fame can not only be glamorous but dangerous as well.