IAN HART: Does TV depiction change our perspective?

For all their faults it has to be said that one of the things the BBC does excel at is drama.

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

One of the latest offerings was the recent two-parter ‘The Moorside’ which told the true story of the alleged abduction of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews in 2008.

Starring Sheridan Smith, arguably one of the most talented actresses this country has produced in recent years, it was quality TV from start to finish.

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After its conclusion, with the ‘happy ending’ of Shannon being discovered still alive, the whole saga left most people with a clear opinion on the situation.

Like the rest of the nation, I was pleased the child was safe, but you could argue the way everything else was reported by the media almost forced a ‘set’ perspective on the whole thing.

This was ‘Broken Britain’ at its worst – a woman with seven kids by three different men, living on benefits, with a young boyfriend later prosecuted for child pornography and an elaborate plan to deceive police and claim a £50,000 reward.

But after two hours of TV, clearly well-researched and written, have perspectives changed somewhat? Should broken actually read forgotten?

The overwhelming majority of the Moorside estate were good, honest people who rallied around as a community.

And if there was any good to come out of the situation it was that Shannon is now with loving foster parents.

She’s now 18 and living a happy life under a new name.

But bizarrely, the other principal victim for me was her mum, Karen.

Granted she broke the law and deceived a lot of people, but one of the most telling moments in the plot was the police family liaison officer’s reading of the situation.

She stated that in her opinion neither Karen Matthews or her accomplice had the intelligence to hatch such a scheme on their own, so has the real culprit walked away scot free?


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