A NEW play inspired by a dad’s “paranoia” after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has been slammed by her parents for trying to “cash in” on their heartache.
Kate and Gerry have hit out at renowned dramatist John Godber for using their daughter’s kidnap in a bid to promote his latest work.
A source close to the couple said: “They feel it is in poor taste to use Madeleine’s abduction and their own agony in the name of art and for a paying audience.
“Their daughter was taken more than 12 years ago and although police are doing everything they can to find her she is still a missing person.
“Linking Madeleine’s case, as high profile as it may be, to a stage play or a TV show which her family have not endorsed is not very helpful and it seems like a desperate attempt to cash in with an audience.”
Godber tells of a father’s fear for the safety of his daughter when a fellow student goes missing from her university.
Blurb for the play “This is not Right” which opens for a short spell tomorrow after a preview tonight, states: “It is the unfiltered story of Holly Parker, a talented girl from a council estate in Hull, and her single parent dad.
“After exam success leads to her being bullied, Holly’s anxiety grows when her dad becomes obsessed with the Madeleine McCann case and keeping her safe. Now her Dad is losing control and Holly is scared. This is not right!”
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4’s arts show Front Row, Godber, 63, said: “The genesis for the play was that I had two daughters, one went to Hull University one went to Leepo.
“The Madeleine McCann case had become absolutely everywhere and I as a dad started to get a little bit paranoid about where my kids were.”
He told how the play, which he first wrote six years but is only now being staged, is “about paranoia, fear, the way that we report things that are true and not true, and how paranoia is transferred from parents to offspring and vice versa. It’s about what we think is out there but might not be out there.”
It tells the fictional tale of bright Holly Parker who is cared for by her frantic dad after her mum walks out on them.
It opens at London’s Wilton’s Music Hall a day before the funeral of real missing Hull student Libby Squires, 21, who was tragically found murdered in March two months after she vanished during a night out.
Madeleine vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz in May 2007.
She had been left sleeping along with her younger twin siblings while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas bar with friends.
Heart doctor Gerry and ex GP Kate, both 51, from Rothley, Leics, cling onto a glimmer of hope their daughter could still be alive. She would now be aged 16.
British cops, who have been given £11.75 million of taxpayers’ money for their investigation Operation Grange, have failed to unearth any new clue since their inquiry started in May 2011.
But officers are determined to crack the case and have been given a further £300,000 to keep the search going until the end of March next year.
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A BBC crime drama The Cry starring Jenna Coleman which aired last autumn and is now being screened on RTE also draws parallels to Madeleine’s disappearance.
The Cry producer Claire Mundell, recently asked about the similarities to Maddie’s kidnap, said: “There are umpteen sadly different high profile cases which have occurred over the years and there was no specific case that we were drawn upon.
“The show is an adaptation of a novel and what interested me about the novel when I first read it was that it spoke about a very contemporary sort of crime.”
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