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TV documentary throws up new Madeleine clues

The dramatic difference between the known picture of Madeleine McCann, aged 3, and how she may look now, two years later
The dramatic difference between the known picture of Madeleine McCann, aged 3, and how she may look now, two years later
Retired RUC detective Dave Edgar
Madeleine (second from left) with (left to right) brother Sean, cousin Fiona McCann, sister Amelie and cousin Gregor McCann in Donegal
Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of a 4-year-old British girl who disappeared while on a vacation with her family in Portugal on Thursday May 3, 2007, are seen in St. Peter square at the Vatican prior to the start of the weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 30, 2007, during wich Pope Benedict XVI held the hands of the parents of 4-year-old Madeleine, blessing them and a photo of the little girl.
Still taken from video of Madeleine McCann
Still taken from video of Madeleine McCann
Still taken from undated Madeleine Fund handout video of Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann
This illustration released Friday, May 1, 2009 by Harpo Productions Inc., shows a photo, left, and an age-progressed image, right, of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who was 4 when she disappeared from a hotel room in Portugal on May 3, 2007. The age-progressed image, created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, depicts what Madeleine may look like at age 6. Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann taped an interview with Oprah Winfrey on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago on April 24, 2009. The exclusive interview is scheduled to air in the United States on Monday, May 4 and in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 5. (AP Photo/Harpo Productions Inc., National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) **NO SALES**
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of missing toddler Madeleine, walk to mass y at their local Catholic church, the Sacred Heart in Rothley, England
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann as they give a statement at the Rothley Court Hotel, in Rothley, Leicestershire after they were formally cleared by the Portuguese authorities of involvement in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance .
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann, with twins Sean and Amelie, arrive at East Midlands airport, England

A former RUC man is pursuing “potentially significant” information received after the broadcast of a new TV documentary about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, her family’s spokesman has said.

More than 50 calls were made to the McCanns’ investigative hotline following the airing of Thursday night’s programme, which highlighted three separate sightings of a suspicious man before the little girl vanished.

The callers offered “real, new information”, including details of possible sightings of the missing child, family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.

Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family’s holiday flat in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.

The new documentary highlighted three witnesses who saw an odd stranger who appeared to be watching the McCanns’ apartment in the days before the little girl disappeared.

An artist’s impression based on one account of the man, who was described as “very ugly” with pitted skin and a large nose, was also released this week.

Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, are employing two retired British policemen to continue the search for their daughter.

The former officers — ex-RUC detective inspector Dave Edgar, (52) and ex-detective sergeant Arthur Cowley (57) — scoured thousands of pages from the official Portuguese case files looking for clues. They put the three reports of a suspicious stranger hanging around the McCanns’ apartment together with two sightings of a man carrying a child away from the flat on the night Madeleine vanished.

Mr Mitchell said there was a good response to Thursday night’s programme — Madeleine Was Here — which was watched by 2.6m people on Channel 4.

He said: “The investigative phone line has had at least 50 calls since the documentary.

“It’s a very encouraging response because there is real, new information being given in some of these calls, information that the investigators are now able to set to work on.

“Some of the calls are coming from Portugal, and that’s exactly where we need the information from.

“We will not go into detail but the investigators are very pleased with that response.”

He added: “Many of the calls are offering real information that’s potentially significant and can be worked upon. It’s not speculative or vague.”

The documentary will be shown by Portuguese broadcaster SIC on Monday and negotiations are under way to air it in other countries.

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