Common will air on BBC One Sunday, 6 July ( time TBD).
When seventeen-year-old Johnjo O’Shea gives his friends an impromptu lift to a pizza parlour, he doesn’t expect to find himself charged with murder.
Jimmy McGovern’s new 90-minute film for BBC One, Common, is set in the north west of England and based on the UK’s controversial Joint Enterprise Law.
Seventeen-year-old Johnjo O’Shea gives his cousin Tony and some mates a last-minute lift in his brother Patrick’s car. They tell him they’re going for pizza, but Johnjo doesn’t know that they’re in fact going to ‘have a word’ with a local loudmouth who needs putting in his place.
As Johnjo waits in the car, one of their number, Kieran, takes offence with an innocent bystander Thomas – who is fatally stabbed.
The murder victim is the eldest child of Margaret and Tommy, who has become estranged from his family after a bitter divorce. Struggling to make ends meet on her own, Margaret is nevertheless determined to give Thomas the send-off he deserves.
When Johnjo’s parents find out about the lift they’re horrified, and concerned for their naive son. As they argue about what he should tell the police, Johnjo makes his own way to the police station and asks for DI Hastings – a career copper used to doing battle with ‘no comment’.
Hastings can’t believe his luck as Johnjo lays the blame squarely with Kieran. However, Hastings wants everyone possible to be tried for murder and with the Joint Enterprise doctrine at his disposal, that includes Johnjo.
In the battle for justice, Johnjo and his family find that not being present at the murder scene is no defence.
Cast: Nico Mirallegro (Johnjo O’Shea); Susan Lynch (Margaret Ward); Jodhi May (Coleen O’Shea); Daniel Mays (Tommy Ward); Andrew Tiernan (Peter O’Shea); Robert Pugh (DI Hastings); Michelle Fairley (Shelagh Wallace); Philip Hill Pearson (Tony Wallace); Andrew Ellis (Kieran Gillespie); Jack McMullen (Colin McCabe); Ben Smith (Patrick O’Shea); Louise Delamere (DC Pearson); Finn Atkins (Karen O’Shea); Samantha Oliver (Julie Ward); Harry McMullen (Thomas Ward) and Sir Michael Gambon (Royal Courts Judge).