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Simon Duke

Is ITV's Hunt for Raoul Moat all true? Name change, ex's desperate lie and Gazza absence

The Hunt for Raoul Moat will finally debut on ITV on Sunday night, after weeks of preview adverts and online debate about whether ITV should be making a primetime drama out of events that are still very raw for those involved.

Viewers got their first look at the cast of the new drama in action, when on set shots surfaced online a year ago, with a trailer for The Hunt for Raoul Moat then airing before the final episode of Sunday night thriller Grace went out on ITV a few weeks ago. Since then, the teaser has been in heavy rotation on the channel, with scenes in the clip including Samantha Stobbart and Christopher Brown on their first date and Chief Superintendent Neil Adamson, the cop in charge of the search for Moat, heading up a press conference.

The three part series is a true crime drama, based on the shocking events that unfolded at the start of July 2010, when Moat headed to ex Samantha's house in Birtley and gunned down new boyfriend Christopher, before blinding PC David Rathband will a gun shot the following night.

READ MORE: Emmerdale star makes ITV return for 'dark' role in Raoul Moat drama

Thanks to the involvement of now retired Neil Adamson, the Chronicle's crime reporter and Christopher's family, a lot of what viewers see on screen in The Hunt for Raoul Moat is accurate, although a few changes have been made.

Did Samantha Stobbart really tell Moat that Christopher was a police officer?

Yes, it did materialise that, desperate to get him to stay away from her and fearing for her safety, Samantha told ex Moat that her new boyfriend Christopher was a police officer, to try and get him to keep his distance.

That wasn't the truth as Christopher was in fact a karate instructor..

Did Durham prison warn police about Moat's threat to Samantha?

Yes a warning was issued, by way of a report, about the threat Moat's release posed to Samantha's safety, after he was overheard making comments about seeking revenge on her. However, for some reason this wasn't seen until after Christopher and Samantha were shot.

Talking about this, Sally Messham, the actress playing Samantha in The Hunt for Raoul Moat said: "A warning had been sent from the prison to Northumbria Police after Moat was released about threats he had made towards Sam. But police did not see the warning until after Sam and Chris had been shot.

“The drama also highlights the wider issue of violence against women by partners or former partners. That makes it even more baffling as to why Moat became a cult hero. At the end of the day he was a criminal, a narcissist and sociopath.

Sally added: “This drama does not romanticise Moat. It steps away from that. Our director Gareth Bryn said he wanted Moat to be distant from us in the way we were filming this. So a lot of the shots are behind him. He’s a figure on the periphery. Definitely not the hero of this drama. Which is very important.”

Did Moat actually rob a chip shop?

Yes, as he headed north for Rothbury, Moat walked into a chip shop in Seaton Delaval and demanded the night's taking, making off with around £100.

Diane Barnwell has never been a reporter at the Chronicle

While, in The Hunt for Raoul Moat, Diane, played by ex Vera star Sonya Cassidy, is the local reporter at the forefront of the case, Diana is actually a made up character, with there never being a Diana Barnwell employed by the Chronicle.

Sonya Cassidy as Diane Barnwell in The Hunt for Raoul Moat (ITV STUDIOS)

Instead, Diane is based on the paper's crime reporter at the time, as she tried to keep up with the ever changing developments across the most memorable week of her career.

A Chronicle reporter didn't spot Moat in Rothbury

Later in the series, as the search for Moat switches the quiet Northumberland village of Rothbury, Chronicle reporter Diana is seen walking down the street when Moat walks past her, prompting Diane to make an urgent call to the police.

This didn't happen, as it wasn't actually the Chronicle reporter who saw Moat in the street; it was an ITV journalist who had the encounter with the killer, days before the final stand off that led to his death.

Did Gazza really turn up in Rothbury and was he Moat's close friend?

Yes, the football icon did turn up at Rothbury as Moat was involved in a stand-off with police. Gazza was driven to the scene carrying a fishing rod, lager and cooked chicken, although speaking at an Audience with... event years later, he admitted he had been drinking and taking cocaine as he watched the news coverage of Moat at home, before deciding he wanted to go up to Northumberland.

However, Gazza and Moat didn't have a close friendship at all, with Gazza confessing that it was the drug taking that led to him firmly believing that he could be the person that would get through to the killer.

No-one is playing Gazza in The Hunt for Raoul Moat, with the ITV drama instead briefly addressing his appearance with a TV news report.

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