TV drama insight into grisly killings

AN INSIGHT into the lives of the five women killed by Steve Wright is set to air on television later this month in a new BBC drama, branded “powerful” and “real” by the families of the girls.

Five Daughters tells the story of the girls behind the headlines, the struggles and addictions they faced, forcing them on to the streets and into the hands of a serial killer in the winter of 2006.

But the three-part drama, expected to be shown on BBC One in the last week of April, has caused controversy among the families of Anneli Alderton, Gemma Adams, Annette Nicholls, Paula Clennell and Tania Nicol.

While three of the five families co-operated with the programme makers, some of the parents of the girls have expressed their concerns, urging people not to view the programme.

Brian Clennell, Paula’s father, and the mother of Tania, Kerry Nicol, said in interviews with the EADT late last year that the drama would reopen the families’ wounds.

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Ms Nicol said: “What happened is in the past and that’s where it should stay. There’s no need to dig it back up.”

Maire and Tom Alderton, mother and brother of Anneli, Annette Nicholls’ mother Rosemary and her two daughters as well as Paula Clennell’s mother Isabella and sister Alice Bradshaw were all involved in the making of the drama.

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While Gemma Adams’ family said they had no objection to the programme they did not want to be a part of it.

With the help of Suffolk police, the ICENI drug rehabilitation centre in Ipswich and the families, writer Stephen Butchard compiled the script.

He said: “The most important thing was to discover what was going on below the surface. It was wonderful to hear about the stories from their childhood. As I heard them I began to build up a picture of who they were. It was a privilege.”

Delving into their stories Mr Butchard discovered they were all ordinary young women whose fates were sealed by an addiction to drugs.

He added: “They were drug addicts first and sex workers second. Prostitution was a means to an end, and the end was being able to feed their drug habit.”

For the families involved the hope is the drama will raise awareness about the dangers of drug addiction and the path it can take people down.

Isabella Clennell said she participated in the making of the programme in a bid to help other families develop an insight into the “terrible effects of drug addiction”.

She said: “If any other parent sees their child going through this, don’t push them away. Guide them to someone who can help them. The meaning of this drama is about drug addiction not prostitution.

“My heart aches for any other parents who go through this. Watching the other mothers in these films was very familiar and comforting, feeling so sorry, like I did. It helps me feel stronger.”

Maire Alderton said: “I think this drama is very powerful. It feels truthful and real. The emotions in it feel very real to me.

“It was so awful when the press referred to the girls as prostitutes. Prostitution is not a career choice, it’s drug addiction that drives people to it .

“If this drama sparks a debate about drug addiction and girls on the street that is a very good thing.”

And Rosemary Nicholls added: “I wanted to put across what kind of loving, caring person Annette was to all around her, and that she was close to myself, her father and her siblings, and we loved her dearly.

“We as a family want people to know that women who work on the streets do not choose this, but are forced to do so due to crippling drug habits.”

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