James Nesbitt insists The Missing is not based on Madeleine McCann's disappearance
James Nesbitt has insisted his new series The Missing has "nothing to do with Madeleine McCann".
In the BBC1 thriller, he and Frances O'Connor play Tony and Emily Hughes, the panicked parents of five-year-old son Oliver, who vanishes in 2006 while they're on a family holiday in France.
The story echoes the McCann case, as three-year-old Maddie went missing a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal.
Viewers have been pointing out the parallels between the two investigations on social media, even noting how Frances O’Connor, who plays mum Emily, looks like Kate McCann.
But Antrim-born actor James Nesbitt has maintained the similarities are just that.
"It's nothing to do with Madeleine McCann but that's a story that lives with us and it's terrible and frightening," the 49-year-old told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
"If you look at statistics the amount of children who go missing is terrifying and as I say it was completely not based on the McCanns," he said.
"If you are going to tell a story about a child going missing it's going to have similarities with a real life child going missing.
"Drama asks come uncomfortable questions at times... It goes to pretty dark places."
Nesbitt, a father of two girls, has previously spoken about the moments when he thought he'd lost his own children.
"It's happened in a supermarket with me," he said.
"A lot of the time, they weren't lost, they were just running away from me (and were) in aisle 14 by the Haribo. But it's a moment of horror."
Belfast Telegraph Digital