Stars of BBC1 drama The Moorside have been praised for their portrayals of the women involved in the Shannon Matthews kidnapping hoax and the search to find the “missing” schoolgirl.
The second in the two-part programme, broadcast on Tuesday, told how Shannon was found less than a month after she went missing in 2008 and how her mother, Karen, was charged and jailed for her involvement.
Gemma Whelan’s emotional portrayal of Karen saw her tearfully confess to friends Natalie Brown, played by Sherlock star Sian Brooke, and Julie Bushby, played by Bafta award-winning Sheridan Smith, that she knew about her daughter’s abduction.
In the real life story, nine-year-old Shannon was discovered hidden and drugged at her stepfather’s uncle’s house, less than a mile from her own home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire,
As the drama came to an end on Tuesday night, viewers took to Twitter to share their thoughts.
Right. Let's take a vote on this. Do you think Sheridan should be up for an award for her role as Julie Bushby in The Moorside.— Matthew (@SherifanMatthew) February 14, 2017
However, some questioned whether it was appropriate to make the programme at all, less than a decade after the real events.
I found #Moorside so disturbing... fantastic acting but still unsure whether it was a drama that should have gone ahead?— Emma Morris (@emmamorrisey) February 14, 2017
Shannon Matthews’ grandmother, June, recently branded the programme as “sick and disgusting” and told the Daily Mail that the traumatic events her family endured were not “entertainment”.
A BBC spokesman 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.”