Documentary to air 999 call from Michael Barrymore’s home over pool death

Michael Barrymore leaves the High Court on London, where a judge is to decide the amount of compensation to be paid to the en
Michael Barrymore leaves the High Court on London, where a judge is to decide the amount of compensation to be paid to the entertainer by Essex Police.

The 999 call reporting the death of a man found in a swimming pool at entertainer Michael Barrymore’s house is to be broadcast for the first time in a new Channel 4 documentary.

The call will be aired in a 90-minute programme exploring the full story behind the high-profile unexplained death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, told by the people closest to the case.

Barrymore was one of the best-known TV presenters in the UK when the body of Mr Lubbock was found at his then home in Roydon, Essex, in 2001 after a party.

Six years later, the star was arrested in connection with the death and he was released without charge before withdrawing from public life.

The Channel 4 programme, which has the working title Unexplained, has been 18 months in the making and features never-before-seen material from inside the unsolved Essex Police case.

The documentary will include the call to the emergency services from Barrymore’s home alerting them that Mr Lubbock’s body had been found in the swimming pool.

Audio of the call was played to journalists in London on Tuesday as Channel 4 unveiled its new slate of programming for 2020.

Channel 4 director of programmes Ian Katz said: “This remarkable film, with never-before-seen police evidence and exclusive interviews with those involved in the investigation, reminds us that, 19 years on, no-one has yet been held accountable for the tragedy.”

The programme will piece together the perspectives of the Lubbock family, as well as those of the detectives, forensic pathologists and eyewitnesses to explore what happened that night at Barrymore’s Essex bungalow, and the events that followed.

Mr Lubbock’s father, Terry, said: “This documentary is about the questions around what happened to my son, Stuart Lubbock. Finally. The story has become so distorted and confused over the years. So much has been said and written.

“It’s time to put all the facts together in one place.”

Channel 4 commissioning editor Alisa Pomeroy said: “This film is a reflective piece that tells the story of an unexplained tragedy that unfolded in the glare of an unforgiving media.

“It sheds light on the complex relationship between celebrity, the criminal justice system and an all-powerful tabloid press in the early Noughties, but, most of all, it’s the deeply moving story of the Lubbock family’s continuing quest for answers and justice, nearly 20 years on.”

Barrymore last year spoke out about the death of Mr Lubbock, telling Piers Morgan’s ITV show Life Stories that he “couldn’t be more sorry” for his behaviour that night, and that he is “100% innocent”.

Another new programme from Channel 4 this year is an investigation into the disappearance of British backpacker Joanne Lees’ partner, Peter Falconio, in the Australian Outback in 2001.

The four-part series looks into the details and the questions that still surround the case nearly 20 years on.

“The culmination of years of painstaking re-investigation into one of the most infamous cases in recent history, this series asks fresh questions about a story that has remained in public consciousness for almost 20 years,” Channel 4’s specialist factual commissioning editor, Nicola Brown, said.

Another show is Duncanville, a new animation co-created by Hollywood star Amy Poehler and The Simpsons writers Mike and Julie Scully, which follows a “spectacularly average 15-year-old boy” called Duncan who has a wild imagination.

At the Channel 4 launch in London, clips were also played of the broadcaster’s new dating show, Five Guys A Week, which sees one singleton living with five different men in the space of a week.

The show has been described as “an antidote to traditional dating shows” while offering “a revealing, and sometimes surprising, insight into the male psyche”.

Russell T Davies’ new drama Boys, about the gay community in London during the 1980s Aids crisis and starring Years And Years singer Olly Alexander, was also teased ahead of its release later this year.

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