Stephen Merchant stars in the new BBC series that tells the story about how four victims of Stephen Port’s ‘Grindr serial murderer’ struggled for justice. 

Four Lives, which premieres on Monday night on BBC1, tells the tragic stories of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor, and how their families worked to prove their loved ones had been murdered. 

Merchant, 47 years old, is most well-known for comedy including The Office. In Merchant’s role, Port meets his victims online and lures them to Barking. 

Port gave the fatal drug doses to all of his victims, then dumped their corpses in Port’s backyard. The killing spree took place over 16 months. 

The story of how the families of four men murdered by 'Grindr serial killer' Stephen Port (pictured) fought for justice will be told in a new BBC series starring Stephen Merchant.

Stephen Merchant as the serial killer

A new BBC series will tell the story of the four families of Stephen Port’s murder victims (left), starring Stephen Merchant (right).

Port's first victim Anthony Walgate, a 23-year-old fashion student from Hull

Tim Preston as Anthony in Four Lives

Port’s first victim Anthony Walgate (left), a Hull-based fashion student at 23 years old. Right Tim Preston portrays Anthony in Four Lives

This is after an inquest into the deaths concluded that the Metropolitan Police had made fundamental mistakes and contributed to the deaths of three. 

The programme is written by Neil McKay and stars Sheridan Smith as Sarah Sak, the mother of Port’s first victim Anthony Walgate, a 23-year-old fashion student from Hull.

McKay said that four young men, with their whole future in front of them, lost their lives in a violent and tragic manner.

“This is an account of not only the losses but of the resilience and love shown by their loved ones as they searched for truth and justice. This is an honor to share it. 

Anthony Walgate and Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth, Jack Taylor and Daniel Whitworth all died within a very short distance from Stephen Port’s East London home in 2014/2015.

Port (41), carried out more than 3 years of attacks on 11 men below the age 26. The four men who died after viewing violent porn with drugged women and men, as well as the others, were able to watch.

Port raped and killed his Slovakian flatmate Gabriel Kovari, 22

Jakub Svec

Port murdered and raped his 22-year-old flatmate Gabriel Kovari in Slovakia, played by Jakub Skec

Jack Taylor was a forklift operator and aspiring police officer from Essex, who became the final victim of Port in September 2015

Paddy Rowan as Jack in the series

Jack Taylor, left was a Essex-based forklift operator who became an aspirant police officer. He died in Port’s final days of September 2015. Paddy Rowan plays Jack in this series.

Daniel Whitworth, 21, was a chef who became the third victim of Port

Leo Flanagan as Daniel with Robert Emms as long-term partner, Ricky

Daniel Whitworth was 21 years old and was the third victim in Port. Right: Leo Flanagan is Daniel, with Robert Emms his long-term partner Ricky

Young men were lured to the flat by the bus station cook after they met them through gay dating sites such as Grindr.

He spiked their drinks and raped them cold.

Port dumped the three dead bodies in front of a local church. He left another one at his home. Port used drugs to create the appearance that they had died of accidental overdoses.

Some survivors suspected that they had been drugged, while others have vague memories of being raped and incapacitated.

Port came into the first police attention in June 2014. He was found by a drugged young man who had collapsed near him at Barking railway station, East London. He was not charged with any crime despite admitting to having taken illegal drugs along with his friend. 

Port then raped, murdered and dumped Anthony Walgate’s body two weeks later. Then he called 999 anonymously pretending that he only found the corpse of the fashion student, 23 years old.

Port’s lies were discovered by police, who charged him with perverting a course of justice. He claimed that Walgate died after an accidental overdose from consensual sex. 

Port was finally caught in October 2015 after the family of his fourth victim Jack Taylor carried out their own research and showed police the striking similarities between Mr Taylor's death and the previous three murders. Pictured, Merchant as Port in the programme

Port was finally captured in October 2015. His fourth victim Jack Taylor had done his own research. Police were shown striking similarities between Taylor’s death and the three previous murders. Port as Merchant in this picture.

The Metropolitan Police spent £25,000 and 980 man-hours on the investigation – but crucially never opened a murder investigation.

Port was released on bail by police and raped, and then killed, two additional victims: Gabriel Kovari (22), a flatmate in Slovakia and Daniel Whitworth (21).

In the summer of 2014, the bodies of the two men were found in the same cemetery by the dog walker who walked only 400 metres from Port in Barking. Port wrote a false suicide note to Mr Whitworth, stating that Mr Whitworth accidentally killed Mr Kovari after giving him a high dose of GHB in sex. 

He continued to write that the note said: “Please don’t blame me for being with him last night. I had only sex and then left.” The man knows absolutely nothing about my actions. The police took the note as is and didn’t check that it was in Whitworth’s handwriting. Police also did not investigate Mr Whitworth’s movements or attempt to locate ‘the man I was last night’.

Port’s initial three victims were discovered in a seated posture with their pants pulled down to show their stomachs. It was the result of being dragged.

Port was finally captured in October 2015. His fourth victim Jack Taylor had done his own research. Police were shown striking similarities between Taylor’s death and the three previous murders. 

He was imprisoned at the Old Bailey for life with no parole in November 2016.