A new furore has invaded the current atmosphere of thinly-disguised rehash Madeleine stories in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the British toddler’s disappearance from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.
It comes from Australia’s Channel 7 television network that has made the “bombastic announcement” (according to Portuguese media) that it has “exclusive information of proof in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann”.
Noticiassominuto website adds that the station’s Down Under team has “no intention of revealing” its information “even to police until the weekend” - when it will be transmitting its documentary in what it has itself described as a “landmark television event”.
UK tabloids add that Channel 7’s Sunday Night has already released a 40-second teaser to crank up interest in the show.
A source for the McCann’s meantime has been described as calling on the station to hand over its information immediately.
The source - which may well have been family spokesman Clarence Mitchell - has been quoted as saying that “if the Australian TV show contains any credible fresh lines of inquiry they should, of course, have been given immediately to the police”.
Credible, in this sense, may depend on the police ‘brief’ - which in the case of Operation Grange, mounted by Scotland Yard’s Metropolitan Police in 2011, has always appeared focused on an abduction scenario.
Channel 7’s documentary however purports to feature interviews with “former lead investigator Gonçalo Amaral” - the McCann’s ‘bête noir’ who has successfully dodged a million euro lawsuit over his theory that Madeleine died in the family’s holiday apartment - and criminal profiler Pat Brown, an American television personality herself who has always trashed the abduction theory.
Thus, first impressions suggest Channel 7’s show could be ready to challenge the abduction theory - although online blogs are already warning that it could be just the opposite: another bit of theatre, in other words, taking advantage of the pique in global interest - and Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manhã guarantees that Amaral "denies having given any interview to the programme".
Pat Brown has seen the teaser, and subsequently posted:
“I fear we may simply be looking at a ratings grab of a show. I know of NO new evidence or that anyone from the Australian show has "solved the case." While it appears that this show may be allowing us to speak up about the McCanns (which is fabulous) and allowing us to finally publicly air what evidence there is (and in a major media production), I am not sure what else this show is going to be about.
"My greatest fear is that they are going to use us naysayers as dramatic bait and end the show with some "evidence" that Madeleine is alive and still has hope of being found.
“I am crossing my fingers and hoping the show won't only be about getting great ratings, appeasing the McCanns, and setting a bunch of us up to be sued. I am hoping someone who put this show together actually cares about truth and justice. But, nothing would surprise me.....”
Former PJ coordinator Amaral told us on Friday that as far as he is aware there are no new leads.
“My private life is being invaded and I don’t like it”, he added, alluding to a number of mainstream British media stories that have been released ahead of the 10 year anniversary which falls on May 3.
The Resident too has been receiving requests for information from British tabloids, many of them apparently unaware of the Portuguese media’s longstanding ‘doubts’ in this case (click here).
To view Channel 7’s 40-second teaser: click here