Grip­ping Shan­non TV drama made me un­easy

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & -

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

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