The Hunt for Raoul Moat creators explain Paul Gascoignes absence

Three-part true crime drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat takes ITV viewers back to July 2010, when Northumbria Police were searching for former bouncer Raoul Moat. He murdered his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, her new boyfriend Christopher Brown and later PC David Rathband two days after he was released from Durham Prison. Police were desperate to catch their killer and after a week-long search, they were able to track Moat down.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from The Hunt for Raoul Moat.

Moat was found at the National Trust estate near Rothbury and was surrounded by officers as he held a gun to his neck.

His best friend at the time Tony Laidler was brought in to attempt to talk the serial killer down. Unexpectedly, former England footballer Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne turned up at the crime scene.

Gascoigne, who was wearing a dressing gown and carrying a fishing rod, claimed at the time he was a “good friend” of the fugitive.

This caught the attention of the nation, making Moat and his crimes even more infamous – and yet, the creators of The Hunt for Raoul Moat have decided not to feature this moment.

Speaking to press, including, producer Jake Lushington said: “The story we’re talking about is the story of Raoul Moat’s crimes, his victims, and the efforts to bring justice.

“Now. Obviously, there was a surprise, brief and not very successful intervention by somebody who was very, very famous and it was odd in a lot of people’s minds that this was happening, it was bizarre and so it became a big story at the time.

“But in terms of what it impacted upon the actual story we’re talking about, it didn’t change up the story at all.

“It wasn’t the focus and it was unnecessarily blown up so we’ve referred to it as a report so that we say it happens but for us, it’s nothing really to do with the story we’re trying to tell, and had no impact upon it.

“We weren’t minimizing its impact. It didn’t have any impact on the actual story of the people we’re talking about. It had a huge impact in terms of the public perception of that story.”

When the ex-footballer showed up at the crime scene, he reportedly told police: “I guarantee, Moaty, he won’t shoot me. I am good friends with him.”

He went on to talk to Real Radio Northwest that day and said that he’d gone there with “a can of lager, some chicken, a mobile phone and something to keep warm”.

Gazza continued: “He is willing to give in now. I just want to give him some therapy and say, ‘Come on Moaty, it’s Gazza.’

“He is alright – simple as that – and I am willing to help him. I have come all the way from Newcastle to Rothbury to find him, have a chat with him.”

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Writer Kevin Sampson backed Lushington, stating they felt it was the right decision not to feature Gascoigne in the show.

He believes it was in the 55-year-old’s best interests as well as for the ITV drama’s.

Sampson said: “And let’s not forget that he didn’t actually turn up. It was a phone call to a radio station.

“And I think to dramatize that, you know, would undermine the tone and the intentions of the drama.”

“It’s also worth pointing out that Paul Gascoigne at that point was clearly not in a great place.

“I think you know if we had thought that there was a purpose for dramatizing, that you would have to question your motives and intentions, and potential of sending up somebody who was going through a bad time.”

The mini-series will air over three consecutive nights with the final episode coming out on Tuesday, April 18.

The Hunt for Raoul Moat premieres on Sunday, April 16, at 9pm on ITV.

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