A fondly remembered documentary-drama, and an example of the sort of superb production that was regularly transmitted on TV
Shoot to Kill is a four-hour drama documentary reconstruction of the events that led to the 1984–86 Stalker Inquiry into the shooting of six terrorist suspects in Northern Ireland in 1982 by a specialist unit of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), allegedly without warning (the so-called shoot-to-kill policy); the organised fabrication of false accounts of the events; and the difficulties created for the inquiry team in their investigation.
The film, written by Michael Eaton and directed by Peter Kosminsky, was made for tv, and screened in two parts over successive nights in June 1990. However, the programme was not broadcast in Northern Ireland itself, a precaution that Ulster Television said reflected legal advice that it might prejudice future inquests on the deceased, which had been suspended.
The programme was made with the co-operation of John Thorburn, Stalker's deputy with day-to-day responsibility on the inquiry, and was said to reveal significant new information about the underlying events and how the inquiry had progressed.
Shoot to Kill was widely applauded by critics. It won the 1990 award for Best Single Drama from both the Royal Television Society and the Broadcasting Press Guild, and a nomination in that category for a BAFTA Award. The score was written by Rachel Portman.