Sheridan Smith has been announced as the star of new BBC One drama The Moorside Project.
The two-part drama is made by ITV studios and comes from the same team that created the critically acclaimed drama Appropriate Adult which dramatised the case of serial killers Fred and Rose West.
The drama looks behind the headlines surrounding the disappearance of nine-year-old Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews in 2008.
Rather than focusing of the abduction, the show examines the response of the community, with Sheridan Smith (The 7.39, Cilla) playing Julie, chair of the Moorside residents and tenants association, who played a prominent role in the hunt for the missing child.
The story is of how the group of women rallied together to find the missing child, and focuses on their spirit and determination, as well as the aftermath of revelations about the truth of Shannon’s disappearance, and will be broadcast on BBC One.
The show's creators, writer Neil McKay and ITV Studios Executive Producer Jeff Pope, have a reputation for quality factual drama based on rigorous research, and have promised that the show would take us “into the heart of a story and a community that was defined more by prejudice than understanding”
Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, who commissioned the show, added “I hope this drama will capture what it was like to be at the centre of that community – how they responded and lived through it.”