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Ian MacEwan

Lee Ingleby on why you don't want to miss true-crime drama The Hunt for Raoul Moat

Lee Ingleby as police officer Neil Adamson in The Hunt for Raoul Moat.

In July 2010, ex-convict Raoul Moat went on the run after wounding his ex-partner Samantha Stobart and killing her new boyfriend Chris Brown, and shooting and blinding PC David Rathband, sparking one of the most notorious manhunts in living memory.

The involvement of celebrity woodsman Ray Mears in the search, plus the bizarre appearance of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, who arrived in Rothbury, Northumbria, where Moat had been cornered and would die of a gunshot wound, are two details many people remember. 

However, ITV’s compelling new three-part dramatisation, The Hunt for Raoul Moat, starring Lee Ingleby as police officer Neil Adamson and Jamestown’s Matt Stokoe as Moat, focuses on Moat’s victims, their families and the police operation to track him down and end his killing spree. 

We caught up with George Gently star Lee Ingleby to find out more…

Lee, what did you remember about the Raoul Moat case? 

"I remember it being presented to the world as an American-style live, rolling news manhunt. And wondering where Rothbury was, where Moat disappeared into the woods. When you get out there, you realize it must have been like looking for a needle in a haystack."

How does this dramatisation approach such a shocking story? 

"The intention was to go beyond the name of Raoul Moat. I couldn't quite remember who the victims were, for example, and when you ask people about it, they remember Gazza turning up. But as you’ll see, that was such an insignificant part of the story."

Josef Davis as Chris Brown and Sally Meesham as Samantha Stobart. (Image credit: ITV)

What do we learn about Moat’s former partner, Samantha?   

"In the first episode we’re introduced to Samantha [Sally Meesham] and her new boyfriend Chris [Josef Davis] — how they met and who they are. There's this horrible black cloud that hangs over them in the form of this man who is possessive, controlling and a bully"

How did the police cope with the escalating threat Moat posed?

"It was a scramble because they didn't know what was going to happen and, when Moat shot David Rathband, it became even more uncertain."

Did you meet the real Neil Adamson?

"We had a couple of zoom meetings, but I didn’t want to do an impression of him. Neil’s attitude at the time was: ‘Moat cannot get away with this; he has to answer for his actions.’ He was the face of the investigation in terms of reporting to the press."

What was it about Moat that made him a difficult target for a manhunt?

"He knew what he was doing. When he got to Rothbury, he knew the area, and how to keep a low profile. I find it fascinating how he couldn't resist getting in contact with the police and goading them. Perhaps he also knew when the game was up." 

Moat received a lot of support online, didn’t he? 

"There was support for Moat from people who saw him as an antihero who’d been messed around by his ex, but didn’t know he’d just been released from prison for beating up one of his kids. That’s addressed in the final scene when a local journalist [Sonya Cassidy] challenges some of Moat’s supporters on the anniversary of his death."

There's a depiction of Raoul Moat’s brother in the drama. Was there anything in their background that informs Moat’s personality and crimes?

"That was a clever thing to throw in. The brother says Raoul is a victim of his upbringing, and a journalist replies: ‘But you turned out alright.’ It would have been easy to leave that out and just have him as a cold-blooded killer. But it’s not that black and white." 

One character predicts that Moat will be remembered, but not his victims. Does this drama address that?

"That’s very much who it's about. Ask anybody about Raoul Moat, and all they can remember is that one of the victims was a policeman. So it’s nice to be able to say: ‘This is who they were.’"

You’ve worked every year since leaving drama school, in a wide range of roles and projects. What were your expectations starting out? 

"I was just so thrilled to be doing it!  Watching TV growing up, I used to think: ‘Oh my God, what must it mean to be on telly?!’ I've been lucky, had lovely stories to tell, and worked with amazing people on and off screen."

Lee Ingleby and Martin Shaw in George Gently. (Image credit: BBC)

You’ve played quite a few detectives. If you had to choose one to investigate a crime, who would it be?

"I think Neil Adamson would be a good one. He seems understanding, level-headed and calm under pressure. I probably wouldn't choose John Bacchus [from George Gently], as he’s a bit of a bull in a china shop! But that's what I loved about him." 

Why do people love these true crime adaptations? 

"I think it’s understanding the horror, the humanity and the psychological aspect of the whole thing. It’s very easy to watch something about a serial killer, but if you peek behind the curtain and see things that are surprising, it keeps you coming back for more."

What did you watch on TV growing up?

"Oh God, it was everything from Cracker to Bread! I’m a sucker for a good character you can relate to and laugh with."

When can I watch The Hunt for Raoul Moat?

The Hunt for Raoul Moat will be shown on Sunday, April 10, Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12 at 9pm on ITV. The drama will also be available on ITVX. 

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