THE HUNT FOR BIBLE JOHN

The Hunt For Bible John explores the largest murder hunt Scotland has ever seen and one of Scotland’s most notorious unsolved crimes.

Over 18 months from 1968, three women were found murdered in Glasgow. They had all spent the night at the same dancehall and were killed in the same brutal and sadistic way. The suspect’s now infamous moniker came after a key witness described a man who picked up women yet quoted extensively from the Old Testament and frowned on adultery.

More than 50 years on, these brutal killings remain
unsolved. With insight from criminologists and forensic psychologists, the series reflects on the 1960s societal attitudes on marriage, dating and women’s sexual autonomy, and how these attitudes informed the public perception of the three murder victims - Patricia Docker, Jemima MacDonald and Helen Puttock. Filmed by Scottish BAFTA-award winning director Matt Pinder, with testimony from Barrowland dancehall attendees, journalists who reported on the case and the detectives who worked around the clock to try to catch the killer, The Hunt For Bible John delves into the dark legacy this elusive serial killer left on a city.
The first big true-crime documentary of the year is one of the best I’ve seen.... In other hands, this could easily have become just another true-crime documentary, trading on nothing but cheap gratification and bloodlust. What’s so impressive here is how keenly the series wants to fit the murders into a wider societal context. A long introductory tract is dedicated to the state of Glasgow in the 60s. Grim and dark and still bomb-damaged from the war, it is a city in total collapse. Running water is scarce, open drains burble human effluent in the streets. The one escape, we are told, is dancing. This took place in venues such as Barrowland: dark, heady clubs where young men and women could meet and forget the outside world. ... With everything we have now – improved knowledge of serial killers and advances in forensic technology – surely many, if not all, of these murders could have been prevented. This is the real message of The Hunt for Bible John, and it’s chilling. Less than a week in and we already have the best true-crime documentary of the year.

The Guardian

Matt Pinder's two-part film about the serial killer who haunted Glasgow in the late 1960s is a chillingly brilliant piece of film-making. Rather than wallow in the details of the crimes (hello, Netflix!), Pinder focuses on the people and culture of the city. As a result, it becomes a far more fascinating and engrossing watch, showing how religion, popular culture and Glasgow's unique style of journalism shaped the reality and the myth surrounding this terrifying folk devil. Beautifully assembled, with a variety of rich subplots, this is a crime documentary par excellence and undoubtedly one of On Demand's shows of the year.

The Times

Outstanding... A gripping documentary worthy of a global streaming audience

The Courier

The Hunt for Bible John could have been just more true crime fodder, had it not been for the filmmaker, Matt Pinder. As he showed in his Bafta-winning Murder Case, and Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming, Pinder can tell the most shocking of stories in a way that is always dignified, never sensationalist.... Pinder charted the steps and missteps in Scotland’s largest murder hunt via a superb cast of contributors that included crime reporters and detectives from the time, contemporary observers, and, most memorably of all, the husband of one of the women. There will doubtless be more retellings of the Bible John story, but it is hard to imagine any as informed and compassionate as this one.

The Herald

A meticulous, mindbending, nonstop mesmeriser of a documentary series that really pops and fizzles onscreen. The incisive editing, the Sixties soundtrack, the vintage archive footage and the impeccable sense of time and place help to add up to one impressive show.

The Express