Set The Video – Who Killed The Playboy Earl?, Channel 4, Thursday, 9pm


This preview is for all of you who don’t want to watch Ashes To Ashes (BBC One, Thursday, 9pm) because it just isn’t your thing. If you prefer, send your gaze to Who Killed the Playboy Earl? (Channel 4, Thursday, 9pm) for some real life murder, mystery and suspense.

The playboy in question is a certain Anthony Ashley-Cooper, otherwise known as The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury. The Earl’s life was a tale of booze, fast women and all the trappings that go along with being obscenely wealthy. Eton educated, the Earl was generally unimpressed by the standards of English gals, referring to them as “round-shouldered, unsophisticated garglers of pink champagne”. I guess he’d been watching Street Wars and Ladette To Lady then? However, among all the fun and games, this Earl was found dead in France.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper lived in Versailles with millions of pounds worth of antiques, a taste for the ladies (thanks to the miracle of Viagra) and heavy drinking and was described by a pal as a “philanthropist who specialised in rescuing lap dancers”. Ashely-Cooper shacked up with thirty-three year-old mother of two, Nadia Orch, variously described as a “club hostess from Cannes” and a “Moroccan prostitute”. This didn’t end his social life… which continued unabated.

However, in 2004, the Earl simply vanished. Of course, it’s not unusual for a cad like this to go AWOL for a few days, so no-one thought anything of it. However, more time passed and he was declared missing. Fears grew that he had been kidnapped by gangsters and theories abounded that more disreputable acquaintances had decided to seize Anthony and were now trying to get the Earl to sign away large chunks of his inherited wealth.

Then after various people were sectioned, confessions were made, bodies hidden in car boots… the made their way to Theoule-sur-Mer on the outskirts of Cannes. After a two day search, on the 7th April they found hidden in the undergrowth next to the riverbed, a badly decomposed body that had been half-eaten by animals. A French police spokesman announced that “As far as we are concerned, there is absolutely no doubt it is him.” But who did it?

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