ITV's latest true crime drama offering, The Hunt For Raoul Moat, brings to life the most talked-about manhunt in British history.


The new three-parter shines a light on the events that unfolded throughout the tragedy that took place across one week in 2010 in the north east of England.

While the drama explores the story from the standpoint of those who were attacked or impacted by Moat, it also highlights the efforts of Northumbria's police force and the press in trying to redirect attention to the true story behind the criminal.

Lee Ingleby (Criminal UK, Inspector George Gently) stars in the series as Neil Adamson, a senior Northumbria police officer who led the race against time to apprehend Moat – but is Adamson a real person? Read on for everything you need to know about the character.

Is the detective in The Hunt For Raoul Moat based on a real person?

Detective Neil Adamson sat at his desk in the police station holding papers in one hand and a pen in the other
Lee Ingleby as Detective Neil Adamson in The Hunt For Raoul Moat.

In the real life week-long manhunt for Moat, police were brought in from all around the UK to aid with the efforts, as well as having camera gear, RAF jets and bulletproof vehicles provided to Northumbria Police. There were a lot of officers involved, so for the portrayal of Neil Adamson in the new ITV drama, several individuals have been condensed into this one character.

But Neil Adamson is indeed a real person and was a detective chief superintendent with Northumbria Police when Moat went on the run.

One of the detectives that led the manhunt for Moat, Adamson is now retired, but when speaking to Radio Times magazine about the new drama, he recalled the events of 2010. “We were exhausted,” he said. “Literally working around the clock, getting a couple of hours’ kip every night. It was mentioned in parliament, the Home Secretary Theresa May was on the phone, it was being covered round the clock.”

When speaking about the public reception to Moat as some kind of "legend" at the time, Adamson says: “The vast majority of the public were on our side and the local community was fantastic. The hero worship was absolutely bizarre, because the series shows how controlling and deranged he was, a misogynistic bully.

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"Samantha was 16 when 31-year-old Moat met her. He dominated her and had to know everything about her. How can anybody be in awe of an individual like that?”

Manhunt: The Raoul Moat story
Neil Adamson, head of Northumbria's CID in 2010.

Adamson, along with families of some of the victims, helped screenwriter Kevin Sampson with the facts of the case. Speaking about portraying Adamson as a culmination of others also in the series, Ingleby said in an ITV press release: “I spoke to Neil Adamson, who is now retired, and a few other police officers who were involved.

"Neil was the face of the police investigation but I portray an amalgamation of a few people and jobs pulled into one. Otherwise it would be just too confusing a watch to figure out who was doing what.”

In the drama, we also see the tragic shooting of PC David Rathband, who took his own life in 2012. Speaking about filming the scene where Rathband is told by doctors that he may never see again, Ingleby says: “You can’t help but get a sense of what it must have been like for the real people involved in this story. I talked to Neil about that scene.

"The two men actually knew each other quite well. You put yourself first and foremost into the role you are playing. And then, of course, you do think about the people you are interacting with and then the real people.

“When you know this really happened you feel you have a duty to do it as truthfully as you possibly can. But you can’t help but get wrapped up in it when you stop to think what the story is that you are actually telling.”

The Hunt for Raoul Moat begins airing on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday 16th April. For more news, interviews and features, visit our Drama hub or find something to watch now with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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