Russell Baker on The Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Former New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Russell Baker has been the host of Masterpiece Theatre since 1993. Mr. Baker introduces each program episode and his personally researched and written comments add context and background to our understanding of the film we're about to watch. His comments frequently provide a uniquely American perspective on the mores and lifestyles of the British.
More commentaries by Russell Baker, as well as selected commentaries by his predecessor in the hosting chair, Alistair Cooke, can be found for select programs in The Archive.
Tonight's show is a recreation of events that took place in London nearly a decade ago.
They were set in motion by a street crime that occurred in 1993, and we may not have heard the last of it yet, for the issues they raised still reverberate through the British political and judicial systems.
The overriding question is about racism in British society, and whether it's as deeply embedded in Britain as it was in the American South when our own civil rights movement began.
This is a highly unusual kind of program for Masterpiece Theatre.
Although the style of the film and the use of hand-held cameras may create the impression you are watching a documentary, in fact everything you'll see has been dramatized.
The people you are about to see are all actors, and not the people who were actually involved in the event.
In Britain, where the film has been widely seen, there has been general agreement that the salient facts of the story are accurately presented.
Police officials complained, however, that they are unfairly portrayed in an unsympathetic manner.
The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.
In December of the year 2000, London's Metropolitan Police Department acknowledged a variety of failures in its investigation of Stephen Lawrence's murder and paid his parents compensation of approximately $500,000.
I'm Russell Baker. Good night.
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