The Moorside

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

Sheridan Smith is extraordinary as Julie Bushby, focus of a huge campaign to keep nine-year-old Shannon Matthews in the public eye after she was abducted for 24 days in 2008. Of course, the story that eventually emerged enraged the nation – Shannon’s mother Karen Matthews colluded in her daughter’s kidnapping and was jailed.

Here Bushby/Smith is a big, slightly scary personality on Shannon’s Dewsbury council estate, the Moorside, which attracts jaundiced, frothing press attention. Aggressively sentimental and raucous, the Moorside’s population rallies when Shannon vanishes.

Bushby, keen to make sure the little girl doesn’t slip from national attention, organises demonstrations, T-shirts and leaflets as Shannon’s bovine, blank-eyed mother (Game of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan, excellent) weeps dry tears as unstoppable events fall from her grasp.

Neil McKay and Jeff Pope’s two-part drama looks at class, betrayal and the ties that bind despised communities with only themselves to rely on.

Summary

Part one of two. Drama examining the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews from the Moorside Estate in Dewsbury. Emotional public appeals for information from her mother Karen Matthews amount to nothing, and the community, led by Julie Bushby, stand by her and make extraordinary efforts of their own to find Shannon. Despite the support, doubts are beginning to creep in for some regarding Karen's behaviour, and friend and neighbour Natalie Brown struggles with her conscience as she becomes convinced that Karen knows more than she is revealing. Sheridan Smith, Sian Brooke and Gemma Whelan star.

Cast & Crew

Julie Bushby Sheridan Smith
DC Christine Freeman Siobhan Finneran
Karen Matthews Gemma Whelan
Natalie Brown Sian Brooke
'Scouse' Pete Brown John Dagleish
PC Steve 'Kinchie' Kinchin Dean Andrews
DC Alex Grummit Steve Oram
Anne Gail Kemp
Peter Bushby William Hunt
Tiffany Bushby Cody Ryan
Sheryl Sally Carr
Petra Jamieson Faye McKeever
Craig Meehan Tom Hanson
Debbie Erin Shanagher
Amanda Hyett Charlotte Mills
Neil Hyett Darren Connolly
Alice Meehan Cathy Breeze
Inspector Ian Gayles David Zezulka
Batley Searcher David Peel
Stacey Bushby Kirsty Armstrong
Callie Brown Macy Shackleton
Ian Martin Savage
Local Resident Steve Garti
Rev Kathy Robertson Rebecca Manley
DS Paul Brennan Paul Opacic
Director Paul Whittington
Producer Ken Horn
Writer Neil McKay
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Drama