This Morning returned for the final instalment of the week as Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were back on the sofa presenting. Joining them in th
This Morning returned for the final instalment of the week as Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were back on the sofa presenting.
Joining them in the studio was Clarence Mitchell, a close friend and advisor of Gerry and Kate McCann to discuss the new Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Neither Eamonn, Ruth or Clarence have seen the full documentary, which consists of eight one-hour episodes, but they have however read about the new series and watched the trailer.
During the conversation, Ruth was keen to find out how the documentary being aired would affect Madeleine’s parents.
She asked: “How does this affect them? I mean 12 years they have been living with their daughter missing. Two other children to bring up and try and give them a normal life. Always interest in this story. When something like this happens how does it affect them both, emotionally?”
“Of course it’s distressing,” Clarence revealed. “Kate particularly feels, at times, the media are in it for a good story rather than wanting to help. But you know, as I say, they will engage with media when it’s valuable to the search.
“In this case, they didn’t ask for this documentary. At the time, when they were first approached, they felt it wasn’t going to help. They still feel it won’t help.”
Eamonn discussed his concerns over the controversial show, commenting: “Here’s the worry, I am that Netflix customer, I am the man that watches these documentaries and none of them give you any answers on anything. My worry is what I’m seeing here is not a documentary, something factual, but a piece of entertainment.”
Clarence replied on behalf of the McCann family and said: “That was one of the major concerns Kate and Gerry and myself had when we were first approached by the filmmakers. Talk of it, as we now know, eight episodes as well, a normal documentary would be one, perhaps two -“
ITV This Morning: ‘It’s distressing’ McCann family advisor slams Madeleine Netflix series
Ruth then interjected to clarify: “Eight one hour long, eight hours,” to which Eamonn added: “You’re a programme maker yourself. You know, I know, we sit here someone said to get a commission of eight one hours, what is there to tell? What aspects, I mean you’ve lived this, what would there be to tell for eight one hours?”
“Other than regurgitating everything that has already been reported and exhaustively gone over, including a lot of incorrect and frankly defamatory allegations that have been made at various points over the rough 21 years, one has to wonder,” Clarence replied.
“We were ensured [by the filmmakers] it [the documentary] would be factual, it would be balanced and fair and I very much hope that that will be the case.”
Eamonn then clarified: “We should point out that none of us have seen it. It was only able to download this morning, it is The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, it is there on Netflix, none of us have had the chance to see it.”
ITV This Morning: Clarence was on the show today
Netflix: The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann was released today
“Were Kate and Gerry approached to be involved in this in anyway at all?” Ruth went on to ask.
Clarence clarified: “Yes. Oh yes. Some 18 months to two years ago, the filmmakers began approaching anybody who had a direct association with the situation. Lots of letters, emails, approaches, myself included.”
“Which I imagine they [Kate and Gerry] must get a lot of anyway?” Ruth asked.
“They do, constantly,” Clarence replied. “Even now, a lot of them come through me.
“Whenever I go to Kate and Gerry with any programme bid or proposal, they say to me ‘Well how is this going to help the search for Madeleine in a practical tangible way?’
“And unless it’s a new witness appeal or something that the police specifically want out there, a new aged progressed image for instance, the answer is ‘it’s not going to help,’ it’s just going to give that particular programme rating or that particular print readership or website hits.
Of course it’s distressing.
“The media have an important job to do, and Kate and Gerry will always engage with the media when there is that tangible benefit to the actual search for Madeleine,” Clarence remarked.
Three-year-old Madeleine from Rothley, Leicestershire, vanished whilst on holiday with her family in Portugal back in 2007.
The Netflix series features interviews with more than 40 contributors, archival footage and reenactments.
“The production company told us that they were making the documentary and asked us to participate,” they said.
“We did not see – and still do not see – how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, it could potentially hinder it.
“Consequently, our views and preferences are not reflected in the programme.
“We will not be making any further statements or giving interviews regarding this programme.”
This Morning airs weekdays at 10.30am on ITV.