Channel 5 has commissioned the feature length documentary, "The Earl, His Lover, The Escort and Her Brother," on the life and untimely death of the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury. “We’re excited to be working with Spun Gold to bring this powerful documentary to Channel 5," Channel 5 and Paramount+ Commissioning Editor, Factual, Denise Seneviratne said. "It’s a gripping story that will explore the events that led to the Earl’s downfall. For the first time ever, his wife, Jamila, having served nine years of a 20-year prison sentence, gives an exclusive interview on her marriage and the ill-fated night that led to murder. It’s a tragic tale where wealth, privilege and glamour meets the seedy underworld in Cannes and one which I think will really engage our audience.”
"The Earl, His Lover, The Escort and Her Brother" is a Spun Gold TV production for Channel 5. The title was executively produced by Charlotte Smith, and commissioned for Channel 5 by Denise Seneviratne. All3Media International has acquired global distribution rights.
The documentary tells the story of one of the biggest falls from grace the British aristocracy ever recorded, featuring the first interview with the woman convicted of aiding and abetting the Earl’s murder. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury was one of Britain’s wealthiest men, scion of an historic family whose assets included grand properties in the UK and France, a 9000-acre estate and works of art worth tens of millions of pounds. He split his time between the ancestral family home in Dorset and the French Riviera where he enjoyed a hedonistic lifestyle of drink, drugs and sex with women, all funded by his multi-million-pound inheritance.
While in France, the Earl met Jamila M’Barek, a divorcée and the mother of two, through an escort agency and in 2002, married her, making her the third Countess of Shaftesbury. Their relationship grew strained, and they separated. In 2004, the Earl asked for a divorce after meeting Nadia Orche, a club hostess and young mother of two who later claimed that he was planning to marry her. Shortly after, the Earl disappeared, and the press began speculating that he’d been abducted by the Mafia to force him to hand over his wealth.
Several months after his disappearance, Jamila confessed to police that her brother, Mohammed M’Barek, had killed the Earl in a crime of passion. His decomposed body was found dumped in a ravine at the foothills of the Alps. Jamila and her brother denied it was pre-meditated murder but were both convicted and jailed – Mohammed for murder and Jamila for aiding and abetting a murder. The Earl, His Lover, The Escort and Her Brother (1x90’) includes interviews with Jamila M’Barek, lawyers, detectives, and reporters, along with details of police recordings of Jamila’s phone calls, and archive footage to unravel the truth behind the bizarre stories surrounding the high-profile murder.
“The Earl, His Lover, The Escort and Her Brother will piece together evidence and first-hand testimonies – including from the woman convicted of aiding his murder - to explore how the gilded life of one of Britain’s most wealthy aristocrats descended into hedonism, addiction and ultimately tragedy," Daniela Neumann, MD, Spun Gold said. "As we continue to expand our true crime slate, we are thrilled to be working with Channel 5 on this feature length film as well as the recently greenlit second series of Killer at the Crime Scene.”
We’re excited to be working with Spun Gold to bring this powerful documentary to Channel 5.” Denise Seneviratne Commissioning Editor, Factual, Channel 5 and Paramount+