Chilling BBC drama Murdered By My Boyfriend was the third most watched programme on the BBC’s on-demand service BBC iPlayer. The heartbreaking drama based on the true story of a domestic violence murder was watched online by over 3 million people.
The most shocking thing about BBC Three drama Murdered By My Boyfriend (aired Monday 23rd June) is that it is based on a true story. It tells the story of 21-year-old Ashley, who was beaten to death by her boyfriend, after enduring four years of mental and physical abuse at his hands.
The identity of the real Ashley was been concealed, and her name has been changed, but writer Regina Moore has revealed her shock at seeing the file of research on the young woman’s tragic story.
“In most of the pictures, ‘Ashley’ was with her girlfriends: at a hen party, busting some moves at a nightclub, pulling daft poses outside the boutique she worked in. She didn’t look like the perceived idea of a ‘typical’ victim of domestic violence. She was only young. She was confident, bubbly, beautiful and popular.”
The real “Ashley’ met her boyfriend, who is called ‘Reece’ in the film, when she was just seventeen. At first he was charming and she fell for him quickly. When she became pregnant, she was unsure about going ahead, due to her age. But he assured her he would love her and the baby, and always take care of them. Alarm bells starting ringing though, when he didn’t want pregnant Ashley to move in with him, as he wasn’t prepared to give up his Staffordshire Bull Terriers – who could not share a house with a baby.
But, as the programme shows, he became more and more controlling- gradually progressing from loving boyfriend, to abusive monster. First it was little things, like monitoring her text messages, and policing the outfits she wore on her rare nights out.
Then he started demanding to know where she was all the time, asking her to constantly send him ‘selfies’. Ashley was pregnant when he first hit her, but vulnerable, and still in love with him, she decided to stay with him, after he begged her forgiveness. His attacks became more violent and regular, and finally, he murdered “Ashley” when she was just 21 years old.
The scenes where he beat her to death, with an ironing board, while their daughter sobbed in the next room, were profoundly shocking. The much-anticipated return of Sherlock was the most popular programme, with 4.2m requests, followed by Top Gear (Series 21) with 3.8m requests and BBC Three’s critically acclaimed film Murdered By My Boyfriend with 3m requests.