17 June 2021
By Tom Collins
The Netflix documentary series, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork will start streaming in a fortnight on Wednesday 30 June 2021. Netflix have release the trailer today.
The three-part series examines one of Ireland’s most famous murders, that of French documentary producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, in West Cork in 1996, and includes exclusive contributions from members of Sophie’s family including her son Pierre-Louis Baudey, parents George and Marguerite Bouniol, uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau, aunt Marie Madeleine Opalka, and her cousin, Frédéric Gazeau, who also serves as an associate producer on the series.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is from Oscar winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire, Simon Chinn. It is produced by Chinn’s company, Lightbox, for Netflix.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is directed by BAFTA nominee John Dower (The Thriller in Manila, The Mystery of D.B. Cooper), executive produced by Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery (Til Death do us Part, The Traffickers), and produced by Sarah Lambert (Captive/Hunt for the Boston Bombers).
Executive producer, Suzanne Lavery said: “In making this documentary we wanted to honour Sophie, her family and that rural community in the South West of Ireland. Even now, I find it genuinely astonishing that something so terrible could have happened not just to a woman who appeared to have such a gilded life but in such a beautiful place and to a community that prided itself on its peacefulness, its safety and inclusivity. It’s what drew Sophie there. What does seem so tragic, is that Sophie’s perfect escape turned out to be where she lost her life. And the shock of it still reverberates in that community 25 years later.”
Producer, Sarah Lambert added: “It’s been our privilege to explore who she was and to bring that to the audience. We hope we have done her justice.”
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork was filmed in West Cork, Ireland and in France. Alongside the exclusive contributions from members of Sophie’s family, the series includes interviews with residents from Schull and the local press, who are all close to the story.
“I’m a great believer in ensemble filmmaking with a large cast of storytellers, because a story is never simple,” says Director, John Dower. “You need all those different takes and angles to get to the richer, more compelling stories. I also always look for people who have genuinely lived the story we are telling.”
About Sophie: A Murder in West Cork
Sophie’s brutal murder in one of the most beautiful and remote regions of Ireland shocked the country and triggered one of the biggest investigations it had ever seen – and over the next two and a half decades became a national obsession in both Ireland and France. With access both to the victim’s family and those involved in the story, the series unravels this extraordinary story from its beginnings and offers a unique window into the ongoing battle to find justice for Sophie. Sophie: A Murder in West Cork will launch on Netflix on 30th June.
Family and Friends of Sophie Toscan du Plantier:
George and Marguerite Bouniol – Sophie’s parents
Pierre Louis Baudey Vignaud – Sophie’s son
Jean Pierre Gazeau – Sophie’s uncle
Marie Madeleine Opalka – Sophie’s aunt
Frédéric Gazeau – Sophie’s cousin
Agnes Thomas – Sophie’s Friend
Past and present members of the Schull Community:
Len Lipitch: Jewellery Designer
Peter Bielecki: Sculptor
Elizabeth Wassell : Writer
Diane Martin : Psychic
Toma McCullim : local artist
Denis Quinlan: Former Landlord of The Courtyard Pub in Schull
Billy O’ Sullivan – Publican – O’Sullivans
Florence Newman – Schull Local
Claire Wilkinson – Actress and former Schull Resident
Journalists involved in the story
Michael Sheridan – Sunday Independent
Barry Roche – Irish Times
Paul Byrne – Virgin Media News
Lara Marlowe – Irish Times Paris Correspondent
Daniel Caron- Ireland and UK Correspondent RTL
Viv Hargreaves – Gloucester Citizen
Witnesses called to testify against Ian Bailey
Irune Reed : Neighbour and mother of Malachi Reed
Malachi Reed: Schull resident
Billy Fuller: Schull resident
Richard and Rosie Shelley : Schull residents (note: Rosie Shelley died in Jan 2020)
Marie Farrell – Schull shopkeeper
Arianna Boarina – Italian visitor staying with Bailey and his partner, Jules Thomas at the time of the murder.
Detectives, Lawyers and forensic experts
Eugene Gilligan : Garda Forensic detective
Dermot Dwyer : Garda Detective Superintendent
Frank Buttimer – Ian Bailey’s solicitor – 2005- present