Channel 4 has defended its drama series Utopia after its second series came under harsh criticism. The show presents a fictionalised account of the final days of politician Airey Neave, played by Tim McInnerny.
In 1979, Neave was killed by a car bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) - though Utopia suggests that the bomb was in fact the work of fictitious organization The Network. Neave's children called for the show to be "banned" in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.
"I am upset and I would dearly like to protect my father's reputation from lies and fabrication," said son William. "It seems that when somebody dies, people can say whatever they like. We would love to stop it from airing." Utopia also uses archive footage of the aftermath of the car bomb, a decision that Neave's elder son Patrick said was "in incredibly poor taste".
Channel 4 has since released a statement, insisting that it did not intend to "cause offense" and that "some events and characters have been adapted for dramatic licence". "Utopia occasionally blends real moments in history with fictional storylines, meaning some events and characters have been adapted for dramatic licence within the context of the series," the statement reads. "It is not our intention to cause offense and Utopia does not suggest that any other real organization was responsible for the death of Airey Neave. That period in history has been both widely reported and dramatised over the last 35 years and is the subject of many conspiracy theories."
Utopia series two begins tonight (Monday, July 14) at 10pm on Channel 4.
How do you feel, ONTD? Creative license or tacky move?