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Channel 4 Orders Investigation After Producer On True Crime Series Takes His Own Life

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Trigger warning: this article includes mention of suicide and other topics that readers may find disturbing. Channel 4 has ordered an independent investigation into the death of a producer who took his own life after working on the UK broadcaster’s true crime series In the Footsteps of Killers, Deadline can reveal.

John Balson died on May 17, having spent weeks experiencing intense physical pain and mental anguish. Deadline has spoken with his family and they have given us permission to publish this article in order to raise awareness of the dangers of overwork in factual TV, which was one of Balson’s wishes.

Channel 4 said it was “deeply saddened” by Balson’s death and has instructed British legal firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) to investigate, pledging to take “whatever action is appropriate.” The broadcaster is in contact with Balson’s family.

No decision has been made over whether the show will be broadcast. During his time working on In the Footsteps of Killers in the first four months of 2024, Balson, a 40-year-old father of one whose wife is pregnant with their second child, told his family he received threats from someone associated with a person he was researching.

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