BBC One have announced that writer Neil McKay and executive producer Jeff Pope will team up on new two-part drama The Moorside Project.
The drama will focus on the public disappearance of Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews and will reveal how a group of ordinary women brought the community together as one to try to find a child who had disappeared in their midst. The focus of the drama is on the spirit and determination of the women who led the local campaign to find Shannon, and the impact on them when the truth was revealed that her disappearance was a sham and her mother knew where she was.
So what really happened to the people of Moorside as the story unfolded? How did the community come together? How did they cope with the feeling of betrayal, and with the fierce criticism of their home that followed in the press?
The Moorside Project gives a fresh perspective on a front page news story we all remember, focusing not on the crime itself but on the ordinary people caught up in events, going beneath the headlines to understand the lasting impact on the community that lived through it.
McKay, who previously worked with Pope on award-winning ITV drama Appropriate Adult said, “this drama tells a story of people pulling together for the sake of a child. In a world where all too often our estates are written off, this drama challenges us to think again about this. We hope the drama will have something to say not only about this community, caught up in the events unfolding on their doorstep, but about our wider society too.”
Pope added, “at the time, the country held its breath when Shannon went missing. When she was found, the people of Moorside led the celebrations. The committed and passionate search mounted by local people had seemed to sweep away all the clichés and prejudices about estates like Moorside. But when the truth about what had happened was revealed, the sense of betrayal and bitter recriminations that followed threatened to submerge the estate. This truthful, unvarnished drama will take us inside the eye of the storm.”
Filming on The Moorside Project will begin later in the year and casting will be announced in due course.