AN ACTOR from Llandudno appeared in the ITV series based on the real-life story of former subpostmaster Alan Bates.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which concluded last Thursday evening (January 4), highlighted the shocking true story of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history in which hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system.

Former restaurant owner Bobby Sirrah, who has founded his own film company, Pact 16 Productions, starred in the production. He played the role of one of the Post Office executive managers.

North Wales Pioneer: Julie Hesmondhalgh and Toby Jones carry out their scenes on Llandudno PierJulie Hesmondhalgh and Toby Jones carry out their scenes on Llandudno Pier (Image: Dee Sturgess)
His main scenes entailed "storming" into The Post Office run by Mr Bates and attempting to shut him down. 

Bobby, 35, said: "I think the most nerve-wracking part was when I arrived on set. They handed me keys to a big black BMW and said they might require me to drive in the shoot so I should take the car out for a spin round the town to get used to it.

"I’ve never been so paranoid about scratching a car in my life!"

Bobby, a former Ysgol Aberconwy pupil, said some days of filming were "surreal".

"Having the Llandudno prom closed so drones could film us flying down the road in expensive cars was unreal," he said.

"The scale of the production really started to hit home when guests started coming out of the hotels to photograph and film us."

North Wales Pioneer: Bobby (circled) played the role of one of the Post Office executive managers.Bobby (circled) played the role of one of the Post Office executive managers. (Image: ITV)
Bobby didn't get a chance to talk directly to Toby Jones but did speak to Julie Hesmondhalgh, who played Mr Bates's partner Suzanne, and described her as the "on-set mum".

Bobby said: "Walking on set was a bizarre experience. We’d been told only the information we needed to know in order to do our scenes. As I walked in, I came face to face with Toby Jones and Julie Hesmondhalgh and that was the moment I realised I’d be performing alongside them. 

"It was great being part of this production and watching the whole process take place as well as watching the performances of some veteran actors and actresses.

North Wales Pioneer: Toby Jones played Alan BatesToby Jones played Alan Bates (Image: ITV)
"Having founded my own film company a year prior, I found myself analysing everything going on on set to see how far my production company had to go. It gave me a great morale boost to see that we were working under similar processes - just without the budget and man power. 

"It’s natural to have doubts in yourself as a performer but working alongside Toby and Julie, I’ve never felt so reassured in my life," Bobby said.

"The performers that I had grown up watching now truly felt like colleagues.


"While I didn’t get a chance to talk directly to Toby beyond the occasional greeting, Julie was the total opposite. Toby would often withdraw between takes to focus on what he would need to do next whereas Julie wanted to talk to everyone on set and she personally thanked all the performers for their contributions. She was almost like the on-set mum.

"When there was a lull in filming, while they reset lighting for example, Julie went around dishing out snacks and sandwiches to the cast and crew and made sure everyone was well fed."

Mr Bates vs The Post Office has sparked a huge emotional reaction among viewers. 

More than 700 subpostmasters were handed criminal convictions for allegations such as theft and false accounting – with many sent to prison or bankrupted.

In December 2019, a High Court judge ruled that Horizon contained a number of “bugs, errors and defects” and there was a “material risk” that shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts were caused by the system.

A total of 93 subpostmasters have had their convictions overturned to date but hundreds more have not yet come forward.

Bobby, who also worked on a production for Apple TV, said: "I was so pleased to be part of the telling of such an important story.

"The horizon scandal is such an enormous miscarriage of justice and a story that really should be at the forefront of discussions. People’s lives, families, and communities were totally destroyed by this scandal and 20 years later, the vast majority are still waiting for justice.

"Since the ITV series has aired, a lot of media outlets are talking about this a lot more now which is really what the situation needed. The ITV drama did its job of informing the public of the scale of this travesty.

"Now that this is being more widely spoken about and the public are increasingly angry about this scandal, hopefully it will help put pressure on the Post Office to not only settle the devastation they caused, but remind them that both the victims and the British public will not let this be forgotten."