Entertainment & Arts

The Murder of Jill Dando: 'Sensitive', 'powerful' but 'lack of answers'

Jill Dando Image copyright Getty Images

Four million people tuned into BBC One last night for a documentary, 20 years on, looking at the murder of TV presenter and newsreader Jill Dando.

Dando, who was known for her work on Crimewatch, was shot and killed on the doorstep of her home in the middle of the day in April 1999.

It remains one of Britain's most high-profile unsolved killings.

Early reviews have described the documentary as "sensitive" and "powerful" but lacking answers.

The Independent gave the show the full five stars, saying it was "sensitively produced" and was "a fitting and balanced tribute."

It adds the documentary "explains the pessimism of detective Hamish Campbell - who doesn't think the mystery will ever be solved - with the help of interviews with Dando's friends and family, and original police decision logs."

The Telegraph (behind a pay wall) gave the show four stars, describing it as "a powerful re-examination" but suggesting "a distinct lack of answers."

Not necessary

Notable by its absence was an interview with Barry George, who spent eight years in jail for her murder before having his conviction overturned in 2008.

Explaining why, a BBC spokesperson said: "Barry George's arrest, conviction, appeal, retrial and acquittal are addressed in the film with archive footage to recount the events.

"It was not necessary to have a present day interview with Mr George as this film set out to tell the wider context of Jill's death and the fact her murder remains unsolved.

"Barry George has been kept informed of the nature of the film and transmission."

The Guardian wrote the film was "more moving for its spareness, leaving the talking to Dando's friends and family."

In its review, The Times opted for four stars but said the show contained "no sensational revelations, just sad frustration."

Ahead of the show airing, the much-loved late presenter's brother, Nigel Dando - who learned of his younger sister's death 20 years ago from a TV news bulletin - told BBC Bristol he remains hopeful that one day the case will be solved.

Mr Dando said: "I will eventually find answers... no matter how long it takes.

"At the moment these questions are still open-ended and still haven't been answered."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mourners line the streets of Weston-super-Mare for the funeral of Jill Dando in May 1999

He added that he wanted to ask the killer, if he or she was ever found, why they did it.

"It's such a pointless thing to have happened.

"I believe there was no reason, it was just an act of random brutality and Jill was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The Murder of Jill Dando is now available on iPlayer.

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