How a Show Forced Britain’s Devastating Post Office Scandal Into the Light

More than 700 people convicted of a crime they didn’t commit. At least four suicides. A woman sent to jail while pregnant. Bankruptcies. Marriages broken, lives ruined.

The shocking details of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history have been reported for years yet somehow stayed below the radar for most of the public, despite intense efforts by campaigners and investigative journalists.

Until last week. A gripping ITV drama series, “Mr. Bates vs. the Post Office,” which began airing on Jan. 1, achieved something that eluded politicians for a decade, cutting through a morass of bureaucratic and legal delays and forcing government action.

The show dramatizes the fate of hundreds of people who ran branches of the Post Office across Britain, and who were wrongly accused of theft after a faulty IT system called Horizon created false shortfalls in their accounting.

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