It's one of – if not the – most famous unsolved missing person cases of the last 20 years in the UK, and now the story of Madeleine McCann's disappearance has been given the Netflix treatment.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann drops on the streaming service tomorrow (Friday 15th March) and is reported to contain "never-before-heard testimonies from those at the heart of the story".
The ongoing, high-profile case of McCann, who went missing in May 2007 from her family's holiday villa in Praia da Luz, Portugal, at 3 years old, will no doubt reignite national discussion about the case when it joins Netflix's growing catalogue of true crime documentaries. Here's everything we know so far.
What is it?
According to Netflix, the eight-part series of hourlong episodes will take "a detailed look" at the case of McCann, who disappeared more than a decade ago and would now be 15 and about to turn 16 in May. "By blending new interviews with more than 40 contributors, 120 hours of interviews, archival news footage and reenactments, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann goes beyond the headlines and takes a unique look at the facts of the case as well as its impact on media standards around the world," a spokesperson for the streaming service said.
One of the most headline-worthy claims to emerge reportedly comes from senior child protection officer Jim Gamble, who hints that McCann could still be alive and found with the help of improved technology. "There’s huge hope to be had with the advances in technology. Year on year DNA is getting better. Year on year other techniques, including facial recognition, are getting better," he says. "And as we use that technology to revisit and review that which we captured in the past, there’s every likelihood that something we already know will slip into position."
Netflix commissioned the long-awaited documentary from the London-based Pulse Films in 2017 following the success of true crime programmes like Making a Murderer, but the series has been repeatedly delayed because key figures involved in the case refused to take part. As such, there has been speculation that it will "lean heavily on interviews with the Portuguese officials who originally investigated the case, many of whom have since established media careers discussing the incident," as the Guardian reported.
Are McCann's parents involved?
Kate and Gerry McCann refused to participate in the documentary, saying they failed to see how it would contribute to their efforts to find their daughter and even claiming it could jeopardise the ongoing case. "Kate and Gerry and their wider family and friends were approached some months ago to participate in the documentary," the family’s former spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, who still responds to media inquiries, told the Guardian. "Kate and Gerry didn’t ask for it and don’t see how it will help the search for Maddie on a practical level, so they chose not to engage."
Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan – Investigative journalists who co-wrote Looking for Madeleine, a 2015 book about the McCann case.
Gonçalo Amaral — Former chief investigating coordinator with the polícia judiciária in Portimão. After his dismissal, Amaral wrote a controversial book about the McCann case.
Sandra Felgueiras — Journalist with RTP (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal) who covered the McCann case.
Robert Murat — Local Portuguese-British man who was declared 'arguido', or suspect, in the McCann case. His arguido status was lifted due to lack of evidence.
Ernie Allen — Former president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Jim Gamble — Former senior British police officer and former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).
Phil Hall — Former newspaper editor who worked as a PR consultant for the McCanns.
Susan and Haynes Hubbard — Friends of the McCanns. Father Haynes Hubbard was senior chaplain of the Algarve Anglican Church.
Kelvin MacKenzie — Former editor of The Sun newspaper who clashed with the McCanns over the media’s standards when covering the case.
Sergey Malinka — Russian immigrant who was questioned by the polícia judiciária because of his business relationship with Robert Murat.
Paulo Pereira Cristóvão — Former detective with the polícia judiciária.
Patrícia de Sousa Cipriano — Lawyer and president of the Portuguese Association of Missing Children.
Justine McGuinness — PR advisor to the McCanns.
Homayra Sellier — President of Innocence in Danger, an organisation that works to protect children from abuse and exploitation.
Margarida Davim — Journalist who co-authored the controversial "Pact of Silence" article that appeared in a Portuguese newspaper.
Felícia Cabrita — Portuguese investigative journalist who co-authored the "Pact of Silence" article and is known for reporting on Portugal’s Casa Pia child abuse case.
Martin Grime — Forensic dog trainer who brought his blood- and cadaver-sniffing dogs to Praia da Luz.
David Hughes — PR advisor hired by the McCanns after they returned to England.
Brian Kennedy — Businessman and McCann benefactor who funded independent investigations into Madeleine’s disappearance.
Patrick Kennedy — Brian Kennedy’s son. He travelled with investigators to follow leads in the McCann case.
Rogério Alves — Lawyer for Kate and Gerry McCann.
Julian Peribañez — Spanish private investigator who went to the Algarve to try to uncover new information.
Melissa Little — Police forensic artist who sketched strange men witnesses say they spotted near the Ocean Club Resort.
Richard Parton — Freelance voice analyst hired by Washington, DC-based detective agency Oakley International.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is available on Netflix from 15th March.
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