The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies is a BBC series that tells the story of two very different women who find themselves entangled in a triangle of complex lies and half-truths at the hands of one man who stands between them.
Cheryl is a bestselling fantasy fiction author who, recently bereaved, now lives alone with her poodle, Goblin. Alice is a formidable but long-underestimated PA who lives in a bungalow with her young son, a magician partner. Rob is an eccentric and celebrated ecopreneur (allegedly). Three apparent strangers with nothing in common… except Rob’s dupes, deceptions and delusions.
We all know the story of the dastardly yet charming conman who pulls off a devilish con. That story is as old as the con itself. This is not THAT story. This is a story about lies and artifice, about our weakness for self-deception, and about the rapid ascent of the modern fraudster.
It is the story of an unexpected friendship between two very different women and the power they’ll discover when they raise their voices in joyous rage. As they finally find the courage and self-belief to take charge, the con is on to try and take a sociopathic predator down.
The show has an impressive cast with Alistair Petrie (Sex Education, Sherlock) as Dr Rob Chance, Rebekah Staton as Alice and Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Cheryl – three apparent strangers with nothing in common. The stellar supporting cast includes Derek Jacobi, Romola Garai and Julian Barratt.
Much of the show is filmed in and around Oxford, and we’ve rounded up the iconic spots around the city that feature in the series.
Early in episode 1, we see the renowned climate scientist Dr Robert Chance busy flyering outside the Bodleian, trying to entice some university students to his talk that evening on ‘disruptive exploration’, taking place at the fictional Gideon College. A famed ‘eco-preneur’, Dr Chance may seem like your typical bumbling academic when he takes a tumble from his bike in the middle of the Bodleian quad, but beware – things are not all as they seem…
Alice is wandering through the iconic Radcliffe Square when she spots Rob, her estranged husband who ‘disappeared’ years ago with all her money, posting a letter in the postbox outside the Radcliffe Camera. It is at this moment that she decides to follow him and find out what he is up to, igniting the spark in her quest for revenge and leading her down a dangerous and thrilling path.
Alice dreams of working in fashion, creating pieces like the fabulous pink cape she dons for many of her escapades around Oxford. Currently, she works as a PA for designer Juno Fish in her upmarket boutique but feels somewhat invisible. What is usually a tourist shop on St Aldates is transformed into Juno’s boutique, full to the rafters with fun fabrics and kitsch pastels.
Cheryl Harker, Rob’s latest target, is a renowned fantasy author and is seen in Episode 1 giving a talk and book signing at Blackwell’s, accompanied, of course, by her trusty poodle Goblin. But, amongst the labyrinths of bookshelves and reading nooks, as well as fans in full fantasy costume, it is easy for a little dog to lose his way and perhaps even get into the wrong hands…
The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies started airing weekly on BBC One on Tuesday, 29 August. All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.