Murdered for Being Different is a part of a BBC3’s hour long drama series in which it depicts real crimes that shook the world. For example, this week they released the story of Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby who were two Goth’s attacked in a park because ‘they were different’. The story focuses on Robert Maltby’s recovery and his relationship with Sophie Lancaster before the attack, which helped him move forward with his life. But it brings to light a more complex and personal account being based on interviews with Robert Maltby and Sylvia Lancaster.
I posted on my Facebook page that I had mixed feelings about this show. I read a series of articles when figuring out what the show was going to exactly focus on. One was an interview with Robert Maltby himself, who wanted to clear up the attack. He states:
“Besides being patronising, the goth thing was also an oversimplification of a much broader social issue,” he explains. “Life hasn’t progressed in these poor areas. There is still that dissatisfaction, that stagnation. These areas are still forgotten, and forgotten people will feel like … well, it can breed nihilism. I’ve never tried to demonise the attackers and, in many ways, they were victims.”
With articles entitled Murdered Goth’s boyfriend speaks out about Murdered for Being Different it’s obvious that journalists have generalised both Sophie and Robert, ignored their personal experiences and the experiences of alternative people worldwide who experience discrimination every day. This episode does a good job at characterising Sophie and Robert as more than just tropes.
It may be important to acknowledge the overall societal influence of such attacks. But this heartbreaking show returns these people back out of the journalistic tropes. By showcasing Goth’s as “weird” or “odd” rather than as human beings it actually hurts real alternative people. Hopefully this show will help The Sophie Lancaster Foundation in their own goal of educating society in order to make everyday people more accepting and amending laws that disregard attacks like these.
What do you think? Have you seen the show? It just aired two days ago. If you’re in the UK you can watch for free online on BBC3 Online platform.