×

The botched Operation Yewtree investigation, which sought to bring to light historic sex offences perpetrated by British celebrities in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, is set to be examined in a new Channel 4 documentary.

Singer Cliff Richard, radio DJ Paul Gambaccini and former “Pop Idol” judge Neil Fox were among those publicly accused of historic sex crimes during the operation, which launched 10 years ago. None of them were ever convicted of any crimes.

Richard went on to sue the BBC for invasion of privacy after the network broadcast a police raid of his home during the operation. He was awarded £210,000 ($253,000) in damages and over £2 million ($2.4 million) in legal costs, although he said the sum didn’t cover the full cost of the legal bills he incurred in a bid to clear his name.

Curious Films (“Caroline Flack: Her Life & Death”) are producing the doc, which will explore “the operation’s lasting impact on the country’s values, attitudes and culture” as well as the personal toll the investigation had on the men, their families and their careers.

As well as interviews the documentary, which is directed by Christian Collerton, will include video diaries from Fox and Gambaccini plus testimonies from those “close to” the police investigation and journalists covering the story.

Lee McMurray, commissioning editor for factual entertainment at Channel 4 commissioned the doc. Lauren Rowles will produce while Jessie Versluys and Curious Films co-founders Dov Freedman and Charlie Russell will executive produce.

“This film offers a unique and fresh take on events that changed us forever, compelling viewers to ask important questions about a watershed moment in recent British history,” said Lee McMurray, commissioning editor for factual entertainment at Channel 4. “The hurt and anger felt by three household names caught in the eye of the storm sparked by Yewtree, is weighed against the need for and value of a police operation that, while not perfect, delivered long overdue justice to victims of heinous crimes.”

Jessie Versluys, executive producer at Curious Films, added: “’The Accused: National Treasures on Trial’ explores what it’s like to find yourself at the heart of a police investigation into alleged historic sex crimes. Using first-hand testimonies, it looks at the role of the media during this period, and the argument around whether celebrities should be named in the press before any charge has been made. At the same time it asks searching questions about Yewtree and assesses its role in changing Britain’s attitudes towards sex, morality, consent, gender relations and what we expect from public figures.”