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Channel 4 is calling on a law firm to investigate the death of a TV producer working on a crime show

Channel 4 has launched an independent investigation into the death of a staff member who committed suicide after working on true crime series In the Killers’ Footsteps.

A fundraising page set up to help John Balson’s family said he suddenly became ill with “constant dizziness, migraines, insomnia and pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

He died on May 17, with Deadline reporting that his symptoms appeared after he became “exhausted” from working on a show in which he was threatened by someone associated with the person he was investigating and felt he was blamed for refusing to take part in the show by someone else. to show.

The family stated that his “mental health” had deteriorated following his physical illness.

He was working on the third series of the show, which featured Silent Witness actress Emilia Fox and criminologist David Wilson investigating famous cold cases.

Channel 4 said it was “in constant contact with John’s family and offers them our support”, adding: “We are also in dialogue with (the) BECTU union and have engaged an external law firm to carry out a thorough investigation which will be as quickly as permitted.” circumstances. We will take all appropriate actions in response to its findings.

“While we do not employ production staff directly, the well-being of all those working on the productions we commission is extremely important and we take it very seriously.

“We are committed to supporting our production partners in ensuring that these productions are safe and professional workplaces, with protective measures in place. Our Supplier Code of Conduct sets out our obligations and is well communicated to all manufacturing companies we work with.

The show’s production company, Alaska TV, said it had provided staff with “support resources including a specialist television production psychologist, recommended Screenskills courses (including mental health) and help and guidance from industry bodies including the Film Charity and TV.”

BECTU chief Philippa Childs said the whole TV industry must take “urgent steps to tackle the unhealthy and counterproductive culture of long working hours that leaves workers feeling isolated, burnt out and unable to maintain a healthy balance.” between work and private life.”

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