The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies is being claimed to be more than a Con Man Drama.
The new BBC drama The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies, produced by the transatlantic production firm Sister, is more complex than the typical con-man story.
The five-part series, which was created by sisters Penelope and Ginny Skinner, stars Sex Education executive director Alistair Petrie as con man Rob, who is consistently successful.
Rob, however, swiftly loses control of the situation when his current target Cheryl (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) teams up with his ex-wife Alice (Rebekah Staton).
A key theme in Pack of Lies is “Control”.
“Penny and Ginny had been really interested in how there is a crossover and a pattern of behaviours that you see in con cases and in domestic abuse cases,” said Lydia Hampson, Sister executive producer. “Coercive control, gaslighting, elements of narcissism.”
The show's development began early in the pandemic when there was a sudden upsurge in interest in con artists.
"It felt like, 'Oh, wow, this is everywhere,'" Hampson says of the multiple podcasts and documentaries that popped up regarding con men, such as The Tinder Swindler and, at the same time, the U.K., where the show airs, toughened domestic abuse laws to include coercive control.
The show's themes are informed by a variety of real-world inspirations, although Rob is not based on any actual con artists.
“With a fictional story you can have more scope to push the envelope on how big a character might go or how unusual the thing might be,” says Hampson. “You’ve got the freedom to go and play with it a bit.”