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Dorset writer Roger Guttridge will be making his second appearance on BBC1’s award-winning Murder, Mystery and My Family on August 6, when series four re-examines the tragic case of Martha Brown.

Martha was the last woman to be publicly hanged in Dorchester after murdering her husband John Brown at Birdsmoorgate, near Broadwindsor, in 1856.

A 16-year-old Thomas Hardy was among the 3,000 who watched the execution and was undoubtedly affected by the experience.

It is thought to have influenced his decision to have his Marnhull-born heroine Tess Durbeyfield executed in Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

‘The Hardy connection is one of the things I’ll be talking about along with the trial itself and whether Martha had a raw deal given what she’d had to put up with from her husband,’ says Roger, who was brought up at Sturminster Newton.

Roger and novelist Rosemary Ellerbeck, who also lived at Stur for many years, appeared together in an earlier programme on Martha, screened by HTV 20 years ago.

Under her main pen-name Nicola Thorne, Rosemary also wrote My Name is Martha Brown, a novel based on the story.

Roger also appeared on the very first Murder, Mystery programme in 2018, which re-examined Charlotte Bryant’s murder of husband Fred at Sherborne, and will also feature in series five, to be screened later this year.

Series four starts on Monday July 27 and the Martha Brown episode will be screened at 10am on Thursday August 6.