‘The Moorside’ drama’s concluding second part on Tuesday evening includes a scene that is too surreal not be true.
It comes as two of Karen Matthews’ closest neighbours, Julie Bushby and Natalie Brown, have become increasingly suspicious that, despite her public tears, she may know more than she says about the disappearance of her daughter Shannon.
By arrangement with the investigating force, Karen gets into a busy police car where she holds an extraordinarily frank conversation with her neighbours Julie and Natalie.
Sure enough, the drama’s writer and executive producer, Neil McKay and Jeff Pope, revealed at a recent screening that the scene came direct from the investigating police officers’ transcripts.
Last week’s episode followed the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews and the trauma it caused within her community on the Dewsbury estate that became the focus of the nation during the three weeks she was missing.
Tonight’s follow-up sees her mother Karen continue to get the tireless support of her friend Julie Bushby, even while another neighbour begins to monitor Karen’s strange behavior, and even suspect the worst.
The drama has incited emotions about the nine-year-old story. Shannon’s best friend has come forward to reveal how angry she remains with Karen, while producer Jeff Pope has rejected criticisms that the drama is exploitative.
Radio 4 presenter Samira Ahmed last week put it to him that the show’s producers had created “a piece of entertainment”, without consulting any of the victim’s family, including Shannon’s grandparents, nor Shannon herself, who is now 18 and lives with a new family.
She asked: “In the end, do you feel any worries ethically about how Shannon will be feeling about having her life turned into a two-part TV drama?”
He replied: “That is something that keeps us awake at night and that we think about constantly. We have tried to mitigate as far as possible any distress to Shannon. But we did feel strongly that at the end of this there is going to be a clear unbiased accurate version of what happened out there which will help understanding.”
‘The Moorside’ continues on Tuesday (14 February) at 9pm on BBC One.