Leading actress may star in BBC drama about hoax kidnap of Shannon Matthews

A TV drama about the hoax kidnap of Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews is in the pipeline.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th August 2014, 5:40 pm
Karen Matthews.
Karen Matthews.

BBC bosses are in talks with ITV Studios to run a programme about the event which threw Dewsbury Moor’s Moorside Estate into the national spotlight.

Writer Jeff Pope, who was behind hit blockbuster Philomena, suggested award-winning actress Sheridan Smith is set to play the role of Shannon’s mother Karen.

He said: “It’s very early stages – it’s not been commissioned yet and the casting process hasn’t even begun.”

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The drama would be made for the BBC and created by ITV Studios, where Pope is head of factual drama

Speaking at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, he said the project would be “extremely complex”.

Pope has previously cast Smith for lead roles in his docu-dramas about the Great Train Robbery and Cilla Black.

Shannon disappeared while walking home from school in February 2008.

The search ended after 24 days when Shannon was found in the Batley Carr home of Michael Donovan, a relative of her mother’s then partner.

Mum Karen Matthews and her co-accused Michael Donovan were found guilty at trial and jailed for kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.