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Toby Jones: Alan Bates, Post Office Hero, Invited to Open Glastonbury

Toby Jones, the actor who portrayed the former sub-postmaster Alan Bates in a drama, has lauded Bates as a “hero”. This drama has been instrumental in shedding light on the Post Office scandal.

Bates was at the forefront of the justice campaign for numerous sub-postmasters who were erroneously accused of theft and false accounting due to a flawed IT system named Horizon. This led to many losing their homes, livelihoods, and reputations in an attempt to repay non-existent deficits.

The ITV drama, “Mr Bates Vs The Post Office”, aired in January, bringing to the screen what has been dubbed the most significant miscarriage of justice in British legal history.

Jones, aged 57, shared at the Hay Festival that the real-life Bates declined an offer to speak at Glastonbury. He expressed admiration for Bates, describing him as a hero who remains unaffected by societal pressures. Bates, according to Jones, is not for sale and declined the opportunity to open Glastonbury, stating he had work to do. Bates is a hero who refuses any honors until his job is done, embodying values of duty and perseverance.

Jones believes that part of the show’s success can be attributed to a nationwide sense of disempowerment. He thinks that the country is currently experiencing a sense of disempowerment and justified outrage. The story, though centered around a computer software malfunction, is told clearly and resonates with many.

Jones commended the sub-postmasters involved in the real-life scandal for their remarkable humility, noting that they had endured a “Hitchcockian nightmare” for 20 years.

In the previous month, Paula Vennells, the former Post Office boss, confronted some of the sub-postmasters affected by the scandal during her three-day testimony at the Post Office Inquiry. Following the TV series, Vennells returned her CBE (Commander of the British Empire), which was subsequently stripped from her by the King in February for tarnishing the reputation of the honors system.

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