Speaking to ‘This Morning’, Callie - who plays an extra in the two-part drama, which started this week - shares her feelings that the drama pinpointed the community spirit that came to the fore when the little girl went missing from her estate.
“I think the programme is absolutely amazing. How the whole community, and outside the community, came in together to help find this little girl. They all put their differences aside and got along with each other. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like this happen.
“Everyone coming together was absolutely amazing. And the drama got it on point, the actors were amazing. I couldn’t fault it at all.”
Callie used to walk to school with Shannon every day before she was kidnapped in February 2008. Her disappearance sparked a huge hunt by her local community, until she was discovered three weeks later in the home of Michael Donovan, the uncle of her mother’s boyfriend.
Remembering the turmoil of her best friend’s disappearance nine years ago and the realization that Shannon’s own mother Karen was involved, Callie said today:
“I was angry. I wanted to really punch Karen - how can your own mother do something so cruel to your own daughter? It’s not natural, it’s unreal, it’s disgusting really… It was horrible.
“We took her [Karen] into our own home and took her in as one of us, and for her to do something like that and for the truth to come out… it was just horrible.”
Shannon was immediately taken into care on her discovery, and was later given a new identity and introduced to a new family. She is now 18.
Callie Brown says she still misses her former friend. She says:
“I wish I could see her, I wish I could meet her to see how she is and how she feels and see what she’s doing.”
‘The Moorside’ concludes next Tuesday. The drama - starring Sheridan Smith as Julie Bushby, Karen’s friend who helmed the hunt for Shannon and stood by Karen even at her trial, and Sian Brooke as a neighbour who began to suspect Karen’s strange behaviour following her daughter’s disappearance.
‘This Morning’ airs weekdays from 10am on ITV.