Victorian Villains

About the show

Until the mid 1800’s, the only records of young offenders were written accounts of their trials, but then a revolutionary new invention changed everything; photography. By the 1870’s every criminal – young and old, had their picture taken for police records, and many of these photographs still exist, giving us a remarkable insight into the harsh reality of being a young Victorian in Scotland.

Using trial testimony, census records, and dramatic reconstruction to recreate the moment when these children’s lives were changed forever, we tell the stories of the "young Victorian villains" and the strict justice system that decided their fate. At the heart of the programme are the powerful photographic images of these youngsters, which give a poignancy and authenticity to their stories, and bring their tales, quite literally, to life.