The abduction of Chloe Ayling occurred in July 2017 when Chloe, a British ‘Page 3’ model, had travelled to Milan, Italy for what turned out to be a fake photo-shoot. There, she was abducted by two individuals claiming to be members of a criminal organisation called The Black Death Group. In June 2018, Lukasz Herba, a Polish national from the United Kingdom, was convicted in a Milan court of the kidnapping and sentenced to 16 years and nine months in prison. Now the BBC has announced a new drama, Kidnapped for BBC Three and iPlayer, that tells Chloe’s whole story.
Written by Georgia Lester (Killing Eve, Skins), the six-part series Kidnapped is based on detailed research, extensive interviews, documented legal proceedings and Chloe’s own book. It will tell Chloe’s personal story in full for the first time, going behind the headlines to shine a light on the truth.
The series follows her terrifying kidnap, her bravery and resilience in captivity, and the subsequent court case that put her kidnappers in jail. Yet despite their convictions, Chloe faced headlines accusing her of faking her own kidnapping, and found herself at the centre of a media storm.
The series asks why Chloe was blamed for her kidnappers’ crimes. How do we relate to survivors of crime who make the front pages? And how does it feel to be an ordinary person, caught up in events so extraordinary that you aren’t believed?
Writer Georgia Lester says: “Every moment that I have spent researching this series and spending time with Chloe, learning about the ordeal she suffered both by the men who abducted her and the people who doubted her, has been shocking and infuriating. It’s been an honour to work with Chloe and I can’t wait for audiences to finally see her courage, her charm and her unwavering resilience.”
Fiona Campbell, Controller of Youth Audience, BBC iPlayer and BBC Three says: “Many of us remember Chloe Ayling’s story and the headlines that followed. Drama on the BBC has a unique and exceptional ability to bring human stories to life and to show what happened from the inside out, to allow audiences to assess their own responses and make up their own minds. We’re hugely appreciative to Chloe for sharing her story, and to the team at BBC Studios who are bringing it to the screen with the sensitivity and insight that it deserves.”
Priscilla Parish, Head of Drama for BBC Studios and executive producer, adds: “This is a jaw-dropping true story of a woman who survived a horrific ordeal using her wits, but was vilified in the aftermath. Georgia’s scripts are exemplary in their treatment of this highly topical subject matter.”
The series is being made in full cooperation with Chloe Ayling, who says: “I am excited that BBC Studios are telling my story and that the wider world will get to know the truth about what happened to me and learn of the many details that weren’t brought to light originally. Georgia Lester and the team have been incredibly supportive in our conversations, and I couldn’t be happier that they are making this series.”
Kidnapped is a 6×30’ BBC Studios production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. The series is written by Georgia Lester, directed by Al Mackay (Without Sin, COBRA) and produced by Clare Shepherd (Viewpoint, The A Word). The executive producers are Priscilla Parish, Michael Parke and Andrew Morrissey for BBC Studios, with Lucy Richer executive producing for the BBC, and Georgia Lester.
The series will film later this year. Casting and further details will be announced in due course.
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