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The Moorside 

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A two-part drama about the search for missing Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews in 2008.




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Series cast summary:
Sheridan Smith ...  Julie Bushby 2 episodes, 2017
Sian Brooke ...  Natalie Brown 2 episodes, 2017
Faye McKeever ...  Petra Jamieson 2 episodes, 2017
John Dagleish ...  'Scouse' Pete Brown 2 episodes, 2017
Gemma Whelan ...  Karen Matthews 2 episodes, 2017
Siobhan Finneran ...  DC Christine Freeman 2 episodes, 2017
Steve Oram ...  DC Alex Grummitt 2 episodes, 2017
Dean Andrews ...  PC Steve 'Kinchie' Kinchin 2 episodes, 2017
William Hunt William Hunt ...  Peter Bushby 2 episodes, 2017
Sally Carr Sally Carr ...  Sheryl 2 episodes, 2017
Tom Hanson ...  Craig Meehan 2 episodes, 2017
Cody Ryan Cody Ryan ...  Tiffany Bushby 2 episodes, 2017
Macy Shackleton Macy Shackleton ...  Callie Brown 2 episodes, 2017
Darren Connolly Darren Connolly ...  Neil Hyett 2 episodes, 2017
Charlotte Mills Charlotte Mills ...  Amanda Hyett 2 episodes, 2017
Erin Shanagher ...  Debbie 2 episodes, 2017
Cathy Breeze Cathy Breeze ...  Alice Meehan 2 episodes, 2017
Martin Savage Martin Savage ...  Ian 2 episodes, 2017
Rebecca Manley Rebecca Manley ...  Rev Kathy Robertson 2 episodes, 2017
Kirsty Armstrong Kirsty Armstrong ...  Stacey Bushby 2 episodes, 2017
Paul Opacic Paul Opacic ...  DS Paul Brennan / ... 2 episodes, 2017


Based on real events, this powerful story of friendship, trust and forgiveness takes us to the heart of a community rocked by a child's disappearance. In 2008, nine-year-old Shannon Matthews is reported missing. A frantic search follows, quickly becoming a murder inquiry. Led by Julie, the community rallies behind Shannon's grief stricken mother Karen, determined to find her daughter and show that, although from a poor background, Shannon's life is as important as any other. With hope fading and doubts about Karen beginning to grow, Shannon is found - with a man her mother knows. As suspicions deepen, Karen's friends set about discovering the truth.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

7 February 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Moorside See more »

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Did You Know?


Julie Bushby and Natalie Brown were involved with the production and approved of their portrayal by Sheridan Smith and Sian Brooke respectively. Shannon Matthews' family were not involved - it is BBC policy not to contact the people who committed the crimes that are dramatised. Shannon's grandparents expressed their disgust that a TV drama was being made. See more »

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User Reviews

Lost and found
14 February 2017 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

The Moorside tells the story of the staged abduction of Shannon Matthews from the viewpoint of Julie Bushby, the person who led the community effort to find the 9 year old Dewsbury schoolgirl. As she tells the press: 'When chips are down and one of us has a problem, we are all there to help, we stand shoulder to shoulder with one another, we will never give up hope'

The rallying cry felt hollow in this docudrama as we knew Shannon's mother was involved in this bizarre abduction. Even when Shannon went missing, there was an outcry that people living in council estates did not merit the sensitive media attention that the parents of Madeline McCann had got a year earlier.

The first episode focuses on Karen Matthews and her dysfunctional family. She had children from several men, her present partner seems to be more interested in surfing the internet. Some of the other relatives crave the media attention. Karen herself comes across as dimwitted and maybe even manipulative as well. Suspicions are aroused early when she starts dancing to a ringtone of a mobile phone.

By the end of the first episode, Shannon is found under the bed of Karen's boyfriend's uncle. A cack-handed stunt to get money from the media it seems.

In the second episode the police now turn their attention towards Karen. Her friends and neighbours who rallied for her now have doubts about her story. The community now vilify Karen Matthews but Julie Bushby saw her as weak, a symptom of a broken Britain where too many women from an early age were let down by men. In the drama Julie and one of Karen's neighbour talk about how both were sexually abused as youngsters.

The drama was strongly acted by the leads, Gemma Whelan, Sian Brooke and Sheridan Smith but I felt it still lacked freshness, too much about it that delved on 'council house scum.' I can imagine that wounds are still raw in parts of Dewsbury and although we do not see the character of Shannon, I could not help thinking that this drama did not do her much good given she is now 18 years old.

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