Moorside, the BBC1 drama about the 2008 Shannon Matthews kidnapping starring Sheridan Smith, was a much-talked about ratings success.
With 10m viewers for episode one alone, many critics and viewers were full of praise for the taut drama and for Smith’s performance as Julie Bushby, the woman who led the community search for Shannon Matthews, a nine year-old girl who disappeared from the Moorside Estate in Dewsbury in 2008.
But eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that it was made for Auntie by ITV Productions, its programme making arm that is free to make stuff for whoever it wants.
And RadioTimes.com understands that ITV top brass are more than a little annoyed that its old commissioning regime passed up on the chance to buy the drama when it was given first dibs a couple of years back.
“There is a bit of an inquest going on at ITV about why the old drama commissioning team – which has now largely changed – didn’t green light this drama,” said a senior source familiar with the negotiations. “It is a perfect ITV story which the channel should have had.”
It is thought that former head of drama Steve November turned the drama down. He left ITV in April 2016.
Reliable sources tell me that C4 also turned the drama down before a grateful BBC1 snapped it up.
Neither Channel 4 or ITV would comment.