‘This is a striking and immersive way of bringing this extraordinary story to life’

Distributor RTÉ Programme Sales
Producer RTÉ Documentary Unit
Length 2 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster RTÉ (Ireland)

In a forgotten London underworld, homeless Irishman Kieran Kelly killed multiple times without detection. In an extraordinary twist of fate, following his arrest in 1983 for the theft of a wedding ring, Kelly admitted to a string of murders going back 30 years.

The audio tape of that 40-year-old police interview with Kelly recently came to light. On tape, he recounts his crimes with spine-chilling frankness and convinces the police that they are in the presence of Ireland and the UK’s most prolific and dangerous killer.

This extraordinary interview was the starting point for an awardwinning podcast, The Nobody Zone, from RTÉ’s Doc On One team. Now, the story has been adapted into a two-part documentary series about Kelly – who gained notoriety as the London Underground serial killer.

The Nobody Zone

To heighten the tension of the recording, producers have employed dramatic elements, with actors lip-syncing the words of Kelly and the two police detectives who interviewed him.

RTÉ Programme Sales’ head Edel Edwards says this dramatisation of the interview “has all the elements of a hit” .

“This is a striking and immersive way of bringing this extraordinary story to life and is undoubtedly the most distinctive aspect of the new series,” she says.

“The series reveals the unique 80-minute tape recording of Kelly recounting his crimes with extraordinary candour. He attempts to manipulate police proceedings despite his disadvantaged position as an apparent ‘homeless alcoholic’ who has just strangled a fellow prisoner in police custody.”

Edwards says the TV series has benefited greatly from the podcast, which currently ranks as the most downloaded Irish podcast, with more than 5 million listens: “The TV production is closely associated with the podcast, which provided invaluable cross-over benefits, both editorial and practical, such as shared contributors and interviewees.”

The Nobody Zone is fully funded by RTÉ and produced by the RTÉ in-house Documentary Unit, with RTÉ Programme Sales representing all rights.

“Clients tell us there is an enduring appetite for the genre”

Outlining the sales plan, Edwards says: “This is a brand-new launch and the highlight of our Mipcom slate.

“The Nobody Zone has a provisional TX of October so we will have screeners in time for the market. I expect interest from all territories – there is a definite upswing in demand for limited series globally.”

True crime has been a hot genre for a few years, but is now intensely competitive. So what is Edwards’ perspective on the ability of The Nobody Zone to cut through?

“Clients tell us there is an enduring appetite for the genre – the Jeffrey Dahmer story [Dahmer] on Netflix, for example, is the second most-watched English-language series. The key now is to find authentic stranger-than-fiction stories and, with this, we have.

“The podcast stats are phenomenal and serve as a clear indicator for an existing audience in this popular but saturated market.”