Gripping Shannon TV drama made me uneasy
THERE’S been a huge outcry over the BBC’s Shannon Matthews drama The Moorside.
Family members claim it is exploiting tragedy and invading Shannon’s privacy, while other critics condemn it as “poverty porn”made by middle class luvvies. I certainly squirmed watching it. It was gripping and brilliantly acted – especially Gemma Whelan as “Britain’s most hated mum” Karen and Sheridan Smith as her friend Julie. But it felt wrong.
Then, as Twitter exploded with bile, I felt sad. Sad for Shannon, now 18, and trying to build a life under a new name. Sad for the locals still living on the blighted estate and, yes, even a bit sad for the damaged woman who staged her daughter’s kidnap.
When Shannon was found in March 2008 I went to Moorside to interview neighbours who’d been searching for her and were celebrating with an enormous boozy party.
But the next day the horrific details of Shannon’s ordeal and her mother’s betrayal began to emerge.
I wrote at the time: “Morning brought the hangover – and the sobering realisation that Shannon’s nightmare may not be over for a very, very long time.”
This misguided TV drama has certainly made sure of that.
STARS: Smith, left, and Whelan