Shannon Matthews Drama Criticised By Madeleine McCann's Parents

'The Moorside' contained a number of references to the McCann case.

The parents of Madeleine McCann have reportedly slammed a new BBC drama about the disappearance of Shannon Matthews as “appalling”.

According to Mail Online, Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter disappeared in May 2007, are not happy about The Moorside, the first part of which aired on Tuesday night.

The drama centres on the community efforts to find Shannon and how it dealt with the fallout when the it was revealed to be a hoax.

Kate and Gerry McCann are reportedly not happy about the new BBC drama on Shannon Matthews disappearance
Kate and Gerry McCann are reportedly not happy about the new BBC drama on Shannon Matthews disappearance
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A source close to the family said: “The BBC have been trailing it for a few weeks. Kate and Gerry think the whole thing is appalling, and in really poor taste and bad timing.”

Tuesday’s episode of The Moorside, which stars Sheridan Smith and Gemma Whelan, featured a number of scenes in which the McCanns were referenced.

The source said that although the McCanns “may not sit down and watch every minute of these programmes, they were aware of references to their family.

The source added that the McCanns found the show “very insensitive” and felt it “tries to glorify a terrible crime”.

Sheridan Smith stars in The Moorside
Sheridan Smith stars in The Moorside

Shannon Matthews’ mother, Karen was later convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice over the hoax and was also accused of trying to piggyback off sympathy for the McCanns.

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, of West Yorkshire Police, said at the time that he was in no doubt that the Matthews case was linked with the that of Madeleine McCann.

According to a Telegraph report, he said: “Madeleine McCann gave them the idea - the fund money. Clearly the McCann case was still in everybody’s mind.

“Karen Matthews is pure evil. It’s difficult to understand what type of mother would subject her own daughter to such a wicked and evil crime.”

An executive producer of ‘The Moorside’ has strongly denied the BBC drama exploited its Shannon Matthews for “entertainment”.

Jeff Pope defended the programme against critics, including Shannon’s grandparents, telling Radio 4’s Front Row: “It’s called ‘The Moorside’, it’s not called ‘The Shannon Matthews Story’.”

Karen Matthews was jailed for eight years for her part in the hoax
Karen Matthews was jailed for eight years for her part in the hoax
Handout via Getty Images

Pope claimed he and his writers had been “kept awake at night” over ethical concerns surrounding the dramatisation of the story of Shannon’s kidnapping and imprisonment, and her mother’s involvement.

But in a heated exchange, presenter Samira Ahmed expressed incredulity that Pope had not attempted to consult Shannon over the two-part series.

The two-part drama was branded “sick and disgusting” by Shannon’s grandparents, according to the Daily Mail.

But the BBC has defended the show, insisting the drama is not told from Karen Matthews’ point of view, but instead about those involved in the search for her daughter.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: “This drama is not focused on Shannon Matthews herself. Her abduction is not portrayed, nor are her experiences during the time she was missing.

“The drama tells the story of the women who led the campaign to find her.”

The next episode of ‘The Moorside’ airs on BBC One on 14 February.


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