Sheridan Smith is currently playing Karen’s Matthew’s neighbour, Julie Bushby, in the BBC’s highly anticipated drama adaptation of the Shannon Matthews case – The Moorside. 

And while viewers have been glued to the hard-hitting story, reactions to the 35-year-old’s performance have been mixed. Fans questioned the authenticity of Sheridan Smith’s accent, with some even branding it the ‘worst they’d ever heard’.

Others, however, heaped praise on her turn in the two-part drama:


Sheridan Smith has an unlikely new friend – the best pal of ‘Britian’s most hated mum,’ Karen Matthews.

Karen’s story hit the headlines in 2008, when her daughter Shannon went missing. But while the nation was united in their sympathy for the mum, Karen was later exposed as manipulative and calculating child abductor.

Shannon was just 9 when she was abducted

Sheridan’s often praised for her ability to really throw herself into a role, and her work on The Moorside is no exception. The actress initially sought out Julie to interview her about the case, but the two have now become firm friends.

The Moorside will shed new light on the harrowing kidnapping with some explosive revelations, including Julie’s role in the dark turn of events.

Julie was the chairwoman of The Moorside tenants’ association, which led the search for Shannon. But despite Julie’s decision to stand by Karen after she kidnapped her own daughter, Sheridan still regards her with high esteem. She even went on to say that she’d ‘grown to love’ the mum of three. 

Sheridan said: “Julie never wanted to see bad of Karen. She never wanted to give up hope.

“Me and Julie are still friends. I’ve got such admiration for everyone on that estate, but especially Julie.

“She’s stronger than I am. She helped me with the whole journey all along.”

The Moorside will air on Tuesday, February 7 and stars Sheridan Smith as Julie Bushby, Game of Thrones actress Gemma Whelan as Karen and Sian Brooke as neighbour Natalie.

What do you think? Could you give someone a chance who’d be involved with something so terrible? Let us know on our Facebook Page... Because we love hearing your views!