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The Moorside Review

Ok, before we get into the proper review, a backstory…

Shannon Matthews was a young nine-year-old girl who was reported missing in February 2008 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. The community came together to try and find Shannon and help keep the morale up until she was found almost a month later in the base of a bed in a flat owned by Michael Donovan, the uncle of the child’s step-dad.

Onto her mother, Karen Matthews, the star of The Moorside mini-series. Karen was found, in the end, to have concocted the kidnapping of her daughter as a way of getting the reward money. She had come up with this idea with Donovan and they were to split the reward money between them once she was ‘found’. Of course, everything went wrong and the two were sentenced to eight years in prison. Karen was released in 2012.


Now, to the show. The Moorside was a two episode series that follows Karen Matthews’ close friend Julie as she tries to help find Shannon. The series also looks into how Karen acted during the dissapearance and how people’s perseptions of her changed, especially with her close friends.

This series doesn’t focus on Shannon Matthews at all and doesn’t even show her face. The only time there’s any inclusion o Shannon is in missing posters and family photographs.


This series caused a lot of controversy with a lot of people saying it was distasteful, a big influence in this arguement being the McCanns. The McCanns were a big influence into why Karen Matthews did what she did, all revolving around money and greed, as their daughter had gone missing the year before and the reward money was huge!

My opinion. I found this series incredibly interesting and something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug. People said it was unfair to Karen but why should we really care about her feleings? Was she caring about her daughter’s feelings when she was hidden away, drugged out of her mind? No. This case shocked a lot of people and it is nice to see in the series that they focus more on the community spirit than on what actually happened. Seeing how Karen changed and acted throughout the ordeal is horrific and really opens your eyes to what people can be like and how you never really know anyone.

The acting too was phenomenal and I think they all deserve praise for playing some very hard and very complex characters. Especially Karen. In the series she seems to be incredibly childish and very distant from everything going on. She is uncaring and only thinks about herself and the money. Even when she got her daughter back she didn’t have any happiness, just fear and dred for what could happen to her and Donovan.

Do I think this should’ve been made? Yes. Definitely. Yes it makes Karen look like a bad person, which she was, but it also shows the community spirit. How in the darkest times people can come together and add a bit of sunshine into the world and not give up.

What do you think of The Moorside?

Until next time.

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