Will Mellor shared an emotional moment with the man he played, Lee Castleton, in the ITV drama (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
The Coronation Street actor, 47, plays Lee Castleton in the four-part series, which follows the story of former sub postmaster Alan Bates who lost his Post Office in north Wales after being accused of theft.
In what’s been known as one of the UK’s ‘biggest miscarriages of justice’, Alan discovered that he was not alone, and there were hundreds of others who had been affected by the scandal, but had done nothing wrong.
Dozens of innocent people were convicted of theft, lost their homes and went into debt, and 236 went to prison. Four people also took their own lives.
Appearing on Friday’s Good Morning Britain, Will spoke about how important the responsibility of the role was to him, while, after sharing a hug and handshake with Lee, he was thanked for bringing the drama to light.
Lee shared: ‘He just did a great job, didn’t he? It’s that honesty and that empathy, that feeling and he just felt it.
‘I can’t tell you how difficult it was to stand in front of a judge and be judged just as an individual and he shows that in the film.
‘It just shows humanity and the inhumanity of it.’
Asked by host Charlotte Hawkins if he had anything to say to Will, Lee went on: ‘Just thank you so much.’
‘Don’t be daft mate,’ Will replied. ‘Thank you! It’s just a shame it took a drama to get these people heard but it shows you the power of television.
Will spoke about the responsibility of his role in Mr Bates vs The Post Office (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Lee is one of the victims of a huge injustice (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
‘I’m so glad we did this and ITV did this. Having this opportunity to play this part, things come around for a reason sometimes and I’m so glad I could represent you.’
He added: ‘He’s probably sick to death of just hearing the words Post Office.’
Will went on to talk about the first time he had met Lee, saying: ‘When I met him for the first time, he opened the door for me, I had a coffee in my hand at the BAFTA screening for the press and I went “Oh, thanks mate!” and he said, “I’m Lee Castleton” and we just hugged each other for ages.’
He elsewhere spoke about the responsibility of the role, telling the ITV hosts: ‘It shows you how big the impact a drama can be with the reaction that’s happened with Mr Bates and the Post Office.
‘To play a real person is a massive responsibility because you know they’re going to watch it and you know they’ve been through all this and all these emotions and it’s been an horrendous time for all the people who were postmasters.
‘But for Lee himself, I just wanted to make sure I told the truth and made sure I played the emotion right and got his journey and what he went through right.
‘We didn’t speak beforehand, before we started filming. It’s tough for me to go right, “Let’s talk about what you went through” because you don’t want to bring up all that, but at the same time I wanted to make sure I got it right for him.’
He added that he was ‘as angry as the public’ when he first read the script, seeing how completely innocent people had their lives ruined.
Lee said he was ‘as angry as the public’ when he first read the script (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)
Since the drama aired, millions of people have thrown their support behind the real victims of the incident, and have been left devastated after learning of the true story.
A petition to strip ex-Post Office chief Paula Vennells, who was in leadership when the company wrongly prosecuted hundreds of its employees, of her CBE reached over 1,000,000 signatures and she eventually announced she will hand it back.
Since then, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced new legislation to exonerate and pay £75,000 in compensation to each sub-postmaster wrongfully convicted, as only 93 have so far had their names cleared.
Mr Bates vs The Post Office is available to watch on ITVX.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV1.
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