The Pusher

Manchester’s Serial Killer? on Channel 4 is set in Greater Manchester, obviously. The subject matter, of a possible serial killer, drives the use of locations in the documentary. The locations of suspicious deaths with compelling evidence of a killer are the focus in this documentary. The locations of their deaths, and their families are used to bring a reality to claims to being dismissed by the police.

The location of a victim’s death is used to visually depict where the incident took place. It brings the claims to life bringing the audience along for the investigation, getting their minds to begin to picture how it happened. It is a tactic we see used in ghost hunting shows. In a ghost hunting show it is usually new ground covered for the host, however in this case of Nathan Tomlinson, having his mum Tina emotionally retrace her steps of where the body was found resonates with the audience. The documentary sparked debate on social media using #thepusher “Feel sorry for the parents in these cases so many unanswered questions #thepusher” (“S !Fudge. on Twitter”, 2016).


The documentary aims to investigate and ask, “Are rumours of a serial killer justified?” (“Manchester’s Serial Killer? – On Demand – All 4”, 2016).  Technically the documentary fulfils this promise when they get a detective on the case. However, they show a lot of claims from the families and no evidence. Unfortunately claims from an emotional family member are not enough to prove anything. If anything, the creator of the documentary and the researchers found these people to cover an area that has already proved a talking point on social media. They know the audience is there so they emotionally exploit the families to get ratings and deliver zero progress in any cases. Intentionally or not I believe the documentary succeeds in it’s intentions and is interesting but the execution is ethically questionable.

As does some of the audience, “So, the conclusion of the programme: NO Pusher. What a waste of time & hurt for the families of the dead. Shame on you channel 4 #ThePusher” (“iChuff on Twitter”, 2016).


iChuff on Twitter. (2016). Retrieved 19 March 2017, from

Manchester’s Serial Killer? – On Demand – All 4. (2016). Retrieved 19 March 2017, from

S !Fudge. on Twitter. (2016). Twitter. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from


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