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Madeleine McCann: spotted in 90 countries; Netflix is ill; and the making of Our Maddie

Anorak Sunday, 17 March 2019
Madeleine McCann: spotted in 90 countries; Netflix is ill; and the making of Our Maddie“How much worse can it get for the Portugal travel and tourism industry?” asks one website in response to the eight-part Netflix drama, a feast on the Madeleine McCann story. The question is left unanswered. But we can guess because when it comes to the media’s ‘Our Maddie’, aside from the single fact – child vanishes – guessing is all we have.

The Tab taps into the media narrative of a Maddie in every county, by telling us “These are all the Maddie McCann ‘sightings’ since she went missing in 2007”. Spoiler alert: she’s not been spotted anywhere since she vanished. Other children have. But not her. The last few years have thrown up very few ‘sighting’ but by 20011, the innocent child who vanished had been spotted in India, Canada, Italy,  Sweden,  Portugal,  Spain,  Morocco, Majorca,Belgium, Bosnia, France, Australia, Brazil,Wales, Malta, Italy, Germany, Australia, France, Dubai, Dorset, USA and New Zealand (by boat). The Tab has more but, unhelpfully, without links:



Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, The Gambia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ibiza, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Madeira, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Vietnam.



The world is full of sleuths and suspects. And Maddies. And you can play along. Irish website Extra invites its readers to play armchair detective. The headline appears to be more suggestive than a puppy sat by a pile of poo: “HERE ARE THE 48 QUESTIONS KATE MCCANN DIDN’T ANSWER ABOUT MADDIE’S DISAPPEARANCE.” Stop Press: before you read on and start speculating, Kate McCann is not a suspect in her daughter’s vanishing. Gerry McCann is not a suspect. Both are innocent. In fact, there are no suspects. Everybody is innocent.

Not that this is all about an alleged crime. It isn’t even about the McCanns as real people – not since Madeleine McCann, the name her parents call her by, was reworked into ‘Maddie’ by a press pushed for headline space and concerned the story of the missing English blonde might sound a bit, you know, French. This is entertainment.

Get this in the Mail: “Madeleine McCann’s parents are ‘furious’ after retired detective repeats claim in new Netflix series that they put toddler’s life at risk by publicising her distinctive eye mark.” After the fury, the story:



Gerry and Kate McCann, both 51, from Rothley in Leicestershire, were said to be livid that Goncalo Amaral has again said the three-year-old’s life was endangered after the couple revealed the distinctive mark in her eye.

The abductor may have felt forced to kill the toddler after the mark was publicised, Mr Amaral, 59, suggested, due to her being easily identified.
Mr Amaral, who led the police investigation into the 2007 Praia de Luz disappearance, originally made the comments in a book he wrote in 2008.



He said it over ten years ago. An unnamed source tells the Sunday Mirror: “Mr Amaral doesn’t seem to have any compassion for Kate and Gerry and is only interested in publicising himself. To criticise them for doing ­everything they could to help find their daughter is insensitive in the extreme… If there is any defamatory content in there then, of course, they will consider what next steps need to be taken.”

A reported statement from the McCanns – via Digital Spy – reads:



“The production company told us that they were making the documentary and asked us to participate.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.”



And on and on it goes. Screw the lowered ambition of a trite documentary. Why not go for the theatre play? The Mousetrap could use a rival.
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