The creatives behind ITV true crime drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat have explained why they decided not to recreate a strange chapter in the horrifying saga.


A major police operation was carried out across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland back in 2010 after former nightclub bouncer Raoul Moat went on a shooting spree in the area, pulling the trigger on his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, killing her new partner Chris Brown, and blinding police officer David Rathband.

During a stand-off between Moat and Northumbria Police, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne arrived on the scene claiming to be "good friends" with the shooter and expressing a desire to talk to him in the hope that it would prompt his surrender (via The Guardian).

But despite making headlines and becoming one of the most commonly cited elements of the tragedy, screenwriter Kevin Sampson said that he felt it detracted attention from the crime itself, choosing to omit that particular detail from the scripts.

Sampson explained: "When we started researching and planning this, everybody that I reached out to who was not intimately involved, the first thing they'd say is, 'Oh, the one where Gazza turned up with his fishing rods.'

"That absolutely undermines and trivialises the tragedy of what really happened. If there is one mission statement for this drama, it really is to challenge people to think again, to re-evaluate the way they look back on these events."

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Chris holding Samantha's face gently

Executive producer Jake Lushington echoed that: "We talked it through. For us, the story we're talking about is the story of Raoul Moat, his crimes, his victims and the efforts to bring him to justice.

"Now obviously, there was a surprise, brief and not so successful intervention by somebody who was very, very, very famous. I think it was odd in a lot of people's minds that this was happening, bizarre. It became a sort of big story of the time.

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He added: "We weren't minimising its impact, it didn't have any impact on the actual story of the people we're talking about. It had a huge impact in terms of the public's perception on that story and we're trying to correct that.

"We're trying to show a different way of looking at the events."

The synopsis for the series reads: "The drama focuses on the innocent victims of Moat's crimes - Christopher Brown, Samantha Stobbart and PC David Rathband; the police officers who put themselves in the firing line in their quest to apprehend Moat; and the local journalist who sought to tell Moat's real story in a landscape of sensationalist reporting and social media provocation."

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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