ACTRESS Sheridan Smith has been lauded for her lead role in a BBC drama based on the Shannon Matthews kidnapping hoax in West Yorkshire.
The Bafta award-winning actress made a compelling return to television on Tuesday evening in the first part of The Moorside as the mother who led the community search for the nine-year-old almost a decade ago.
Viewers heaped praise on Smith for her “stunning” portrayal of Julie Bushby, although a number of fans complained over the show’s “awful” Yorkshire accents.
Schoolgirl Shannon was discovered 24 days after she disappeared from her home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire, hidden and drugged at her stepfather’s uncle’s home, less than a mile away.
Her mother, Karen Matthews, was jailed after a court heard that she planned the 2008 disappearance in an attempt to claim a cash reward.
Fans of Smith’s performance included I’m A Celebrity winner Scarlett Moffatt who wrote on Twitter: “I just love @Sheridansmith1 what a talented beautiful lady.”
Rob Stroud wrote: “Sheridan Smith demonstrating already what a fabulous adaptable actress she is in Moorside.”
Kenny Brockout said: “Sheridan Smith is an absolute belter the girl can literally play any character. Only 5 mins in and she has you glued.”
However others were disappointed at the cast’s attempts at a Dewsbury accent, with one deeming their efforts “bloody awful”.
Anna Harding wrote: “I’ve not been in West Yorkshire long, but I feel qualified enough to say the majority of accents on #Moorside sound borderline Scouse.”
Richard Harvey posted: “If you’re not from Yorkshire you can’t do the accent, shite acting,” while Elizabeth Courage wrote: “was Enjoying #Moorside and acting would be good but their accents are bloody awful”.
Smith has previously revealed that she grew close to Ms Bushby after spending time with her on the Moorside estate during filming last year.
The Moorside continues next Tuesday on BBC One at 9pm.