MY heart sank when I saw this image – published for the first time today.
Earlier this morning, I wrote a story about it for later editions of the MEN.
The Channel 4 image of Myra Hindley as a saint is due to appear from next Monday in TV trailers for their new drama about Lord Longford.
And the version shown here is set to be published in newspaper adverts a week today, the day the 90-minute drama – Longford – is screened.
It’s deliberately designed to provoke a reaction and a storm in the media, all good publicity to boost ratings for the film.
Having followed the aftermath of the Moors Murders case for 26 years, I’ve written dozens of stories about other “controversial” images of child killer Hindley.
It’s always been an easy route for others to exploit. And, of course, we in the media are partly to blame for following these stories up.
But in this case I think the St Myra image does the Longford drama a huge disservice.
Made by ITV Granada for Channel 4, it’s a thoughtful film about the relationship between the campaigning Labour peer and former Manchester typist Hindley, who he thought should be freed.
The cast, including Jim Broadbent as Longford and Samantha Morton (right) as Hindley, has put a huge amount of work into getting it right, along with the TV team behind the drama.
Relatives of Hindley and Ian Brady’s victims were invited to an emotional private screening in Manchester last week, all part of the care and sensitivity which has surrounded this project.
And then some bright marketing person thinks it’s a good idea to promote the film with a picture of Hindley holding a dove.
When I spoke to Channel 4 this morning, they made clear that it’s not how they see the Moors murderer. They say it’s how devout Catholic Longford viewed what he believed to be a reformed character who had embraced God.
Hence the strapline: “What did he see in her?”
Well, whether you agreed with him or not, Frank Longford was a very intelligent man and I don’t believe he ever pictured Hindley like this.
It may well increase interest in the programme. Even by writing this, I’m falling further into the trap and adding to the publicity.
But I have to say that, in my view, the image is a cheap stunt unworthy of the drama it promotes.
Worst of all, it will add to the upset of the families, who for decades have suffered the torment of their loss – and the fallout from nonsense like this.
Today’s MEN front page story is here.
Longford, Hindley and Brady