Stephen Merchant has been lauded by viewers of Four Lives after the chilling BBC One miniseries’ first episode aired on Monday night.

Actor Stephen Port (47) plays the Grindr serial killer. The drama is based upon true events and shows how the victims’ families fight for justice against a widely condemned police investigation. 

Sheridan Smith stars in the role of Sarah Sak (the mother of Stephen’s first victim Anthony Walgate) and is also praised by fans.

Talented: Stephen Merchant (pictured in-character) has been lauded by viewers of Four Lives after the chilling BBC One miniseries' first episode aired on Monday night

Talented: Stephen Merchant (pictured in-character) has been lauded by viewers of Four Lives after the chilling BBC One miniseries’ first episode aired on Monday night

Taking to Twitter, one member of the TV audience wrote: ‘Four lives @StephenMerchant and @Sheridansmith1 yes Stephen Merchant the best UK actor since @rickygervais I wanted to wait but Iplayer makes it to easy.’

A second addition: “v. Although it is strange to see Stephen Merchant play such an important role, he pulls it off admirably. These episodes are going to take me some time to get through (same with Anne, blimey). However Four Lives is an excellent start.

A third chimed in: ‘I always fear the worst* whenever comedians attempt a bit of Terribly Serious Acting. Stephen Merchant does a great job in Four Lives. BAFTA-baiting showboatery is absent. Just a subtle, unsettling performance. * My default position on everything.’

One of their admirers added “@Sheridansmith1 exceptional performance in 4 lives” [two clapping hands emojis] x.’

Famous face: Sheridan Smith (pictured in-character), who stars as Sarah Sak, the mother of Stephen's first victim Anthony Walgate, was also met with adulation from fans for her talents

Sheridan Smith, the famous face, who plays Sarah Sak (pictured in character), was also praised by fans for her talent.

A final thought: “@Sheridansmith1 OMG what an amazing actor it must of been tough playing this, especially when your mom is xx. [sic] 

Port (46), lured 4 unsuspecting victims into his flat in east London, then gave them a fatal dose GHB date rape drug before disposing of their bodies near the area as part of an unhealthy fetish of sex with conscious men.

The original release date for the show was 2020. However, it was delayed by an investigation of Port’s crimes by the Metropolitan Police.

After a ten-week investigation, a jury ruled that some police officers had failed to properly investigate his case. Some of the victims could still be living if they were avoided.

Praise: Taking to Twitter, one member of the TV audience wrote: 'Four lives @StephenMerchant and @Sheridansmith1 yes Stephen Merchant the best UK actor since @rickygervais I wanted to wait but Iplayer makes it to easy'

Praise: Taking to Twitter, one member of the TV audience wrote: ‘Four lives @StephenMerchant and @Sheridansmith1 yes Stephen Merchant the best UK actor since @rickygervais I wanted to wait but Iplayer makes it to easy’

Four Lives is about uncovering the truth about the deaths of the loved sons and brothers in the families.

Neil McKay wrote the series with Jeff Pope serving as executive producer. They have worked previously together on the crime dramas The Moorside, and Appropriate Adult.

The first trailer of Four Lives showed viewers Merchant’s frightening portrayal of Port.

Merchant, who stands six-foot seven inches tall and was a serial killer, is snatched up for his height. 

Scary: The actor, 47, (pictured in-character) plays the notorious Grindr serial killer Stephen Port and the drama, which is based on true events, shows the families of his victims fight for justice in the face of a now widely-condemned police investigation

Scary: The actor, 47, (pictured in-character) plays the notorious Grindr serial killer Stephen Port and the drama, which is based on true events, shows the families of his victims fight for justice in the face of a now widely-condemned police investigation 

Four young men – Anthony, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor – were murdered by Port. 

After Stephen was convicted of the first murder, three young victims were allowed to be killed by the Met Police.

A Port inquest found that the death of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari and Daniel Whitworth were a result of ‘fundamental errors’.

This was the most devastating verdict. Mr Whitworth’s stepmother sobbed, “These boys could still be walking around today if they had properly investigated Anthony’s passing.” 

Awful: Port, 46, (pictured) lured four unsuspecting victims to his east London flat then plied them with a fatal dose of date rape drug GHB before dumping their bodies nearby as part of a sick fetish for sex with unconscious men in 2014 and 2015

Awful: Port, 46, (pictured) lured four unsuspecting victims to his east London flat then plied them with a fatal dose of date rape drug GHB before dumping their bodies nearby as part of a sick fetish for sex with unconscious men in 2014 and 2015 

The IOPC said it would consider reopening its investigation into the 17 officers who were involved in this case. Following the 2018 investigation, 9 officers received re-training. They were not officially disciplined.

The families of each victim said, through Neil Hudgell, that the inadequate investigation by the Metropolitan Police into deaths of Anthony Gabriel Daniel Jack and Gabriel should be made public. This is a widespread institutional failure in recent history.

“The jury unanimously identified fundamental failures and basic mistakes in the investigation into Anthony’s death. Port could not be stopped and continued his horrible acts.

Jack Taylor

Daniel Whitworth

It was devastating. Port’s victims included Jack Taylor (left), 25 and Daniel Whitworth, 21

Anthony Walgate

Gabriel Kovari

Young: Portadown also afflicted Gabriel Kovari and Anthony Walgate (left).

“We believe that if the police had done their job properly, Gabriel, Daniel, and Jack wouldn’t have been killed, and other young men wouldn’t have been drugged or raped.

Ricky Waumsley was Mr Whitworth’s ex partner. He said Cressida, the Met Commissioner at the time of the murders, should step down.

The IOPC, a police watchdog, also indicated that it might open an investigation into officers after hearing the evidence at the inquest.

This three-part series will be available at 9 PM on Tuesday, 4 and Wednesday 5, January.

Difficult: Four Lives focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to the families' lost sons, brothers and loved ones (Sheridan pictured in-character)

Difficult: Four Lives focuses on the fight to uncover the truth about what had happened to the families’ lost sons, brothers and loved ones (Sheridan pictured in-character)