Sherwood writer responds to real-family criticism of series

·2-min read
Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire
Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

Sherwood writer James Graham has responded to criticism of the BBC series from a real-life family member of one of the victims.

James Graham told Radio Times that he "felt incredibly sad and sorry" for victim Chanel Rodgers's family after receiving criticism from Chanel's mother, Anne MacPherson.

The writer said: "Like anyone would, I felt incredibly sad and sorry that those memories were being brought up again.

"I'm obviously painfully aware that it still feels very raw a lot of this stuff for people, and it's their experience, not mine, it's their pain and not mine."

Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire
Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Matt Squire

MacPherson previously panned the production of Sherwood, and the use of her daughter's death as a source.

"How can my daughter's murder be played out sensitively? I wanted nothing to do with it," she told The Mirror.

"They are ripping my family apart all over again, and we'll get the backlash. The programme has brought it all up again for me. It makes me so cross."

On July 30, 2004, 23-year-old Chanel Rodgers was shot and killed by her father, Terry Rodgers.

Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Neil Sherwood
Photo credit: BBC/House Productions/Neil Sherwood

Quiz creator James Graham explained how he adapted the true-crime events for television using testimonies of those affected by the real murders, to create an entirely fictional story.

"Some people were really worried about it and didn't want to be involved," said Graham. "That's why I still think it's the right choice to not represent anyone real on-screen but to try and capture the essence of the story instead."

The BBC has defended the series, saying in a statement: "Production worked closely with a number of people locally throughout the making of the series to ensure their stories were told with sensitivity, and respected those who preferred not to be directly involved.

"As a result, the decision was made to heavily fictionalise the series, rather than create a literal adaptation of any events, including inventing new characters, names and stories."

Sherwood is available on BBC iPlayer.

If you identify with the themes in this article, the NHS has resources available to help with grief counselling and other support in the UK. In the US, the CDC also has resources available for those grieving.

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