Young stars share missing Shannon Matthews role in new BBC drama

By Dave Doyle | 07/02/2017 0 comments

Young stars share missing Shannon Matthews role in new BBC drama

TWINS from Rotherham will grace TV screens tonight in a controversial new BBC drama about the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews.

Nicole and Jasmin Parkinson (pictured), both eight and from Lindrick Common, South Anston, both star as a missing schoolgirl in The Moorside.

The two-part series, which also stars experienced Rotherham actor Dean Andrews, documents the efforts of a community to find Shannon, when she was the victim of a real-life kidnapping hoax in 2008.

Shannon, then nine, was drugged and hidden by her own mum Karen Matthews and her stepdad’s uncle, Michael Donovan.

Matthews and Donovan both served four years in prison after the plot was uncovered one month later.

Shannon’s face appeared on posters and TV screens for weeks, as friends and neighbours scoured West Yorkshire for her. The mini-series stars Sheridan Smith as Karen's best friend and Gemma Whelan as Karen.

The twins' proud mum Alison Parkinson (41) was approached by Gaynor Watts, of the Tykes 2000 casting agency, over the role.

Alison said: “Gaynor came to us because the girls had done some filming before.

“They were on [BBC drama] Doctors for three years, on and off, as well as [Channel 4 drama] Shameless.”

The twins first appeared on the box aged just 18 weeks old, but the novelty has not worn off.

They spent two days on set for Moorside, filming on-screen roles and being photographed for missing person posters which were a common sight throughout the search.

Their co-stars include Rotherham-born Dean Andrews and Bafta award-winner Sheridan Smith.

“They’re very excited to see themselves on the telly again,” said Alison. “We have to be up early in the morning, but we’ll be recording it.

“They love the whole experience of recording. They chuck themselves into every part they get.

“It’s bizarre to see them go on set and turn their minds to acting — they know just what they’re doing.

“They keep saying ‘We’re famous, Mum’ — I tell them ‘they're not yet’, but they’ve got that ambition.”

As well as being budding actors, the two girls take part in gymnastics and street dance.

“I’m tremendously proud of them,” said Alison. “They saw a trailer for Moorside yesterday and they were so excited.

“The whole family is keen to see them tonight.”

The Moorside premieres at 9pm on BBC One.

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