As his June 2017 trial date draws near, the BBC has announced production on a feature documentary that will chart the rise and fall of actor and comedian Bill Cosby, telling the story of how he finally came to face a criminal trial for sexual assault a decade after the accusations were made. On June 5, Cosby will go on trial in his home state of Pennsylvania, facing charges of sexual assault on a woman named Andrea Constand, amid accusations of similar behavior from dozens of other women.
This film will also explore why it took so long for allegations against Cosby to be taken seriously, and will include testimony from the journalists, co-stars and the accusers who fought for years for this side of the Cosby story to be heard. Interviewees include Richard Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor, as well as accusers, fellow “Cosby” show actor Lili Bernard, and former actor and playboy bunny Victoria Valentino.
At his peak, considered an American icon, thanks in part to the seismic impact of the show he created in the 1980s that redefined the way African American families were represented on television, it was eventually revealed that, throughout his career, Cosby was allegedly privately drugging and raping women with impunity. Accusations from numerous women had fallen on deaf ears for more than a decade, but ironically it was Cosby’s own public pronouncements on morality which finally brought both a criminal case and public disdain.
After comedian Hannibal Buress publicly denounced Cosby as a rapist in 2014 without reprisal, dozens of women came forward alleging similar behavior. However, because their cases happened such a long time ago Cosby will face a criminal trial for only one of them.
To be titled “Cosby: Fall of an American Icon,” the project is being produced for BBC Two, and is made by Sugar Films. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries.
The film is due to premiere in the summer.
Source: Shadow & Act