Anorak News | Bridget O’Donnell On Madeleine McCann: Lights, Camera, Action

Bridget O’Donnell On Madeleine McCann: Lights, Camera, Action

by | 14th, December 2007

bridget-oconnell.gifTHE GUARDIAN does not always cover the story of Madeleine McCann on its pages. But today it does. Bridget O’Donnell was on holiday in Praia da Luz at the same time as the McCanns. Mrs O’Donnell works in the media and is allowed to tell her own story.

No interview. No questions. Just her words delivered over six pages .

The picture on the cover of the paper’s G2 supplement is of Madeleine holding tennis balls. It is not the portrait produced by Senor Marty.

Says Bridget O’Donnell: “We lay by the members-only pool staring at the sky. Round and round, the helicopters clacked and roared. Their cameras pointed down at us, mocking the walled and gated enclave. Circles rippled out across the pool. It was the morning after Madeleine went.”

It was a dark and stormy night… 

And: “They booked a large table every night in the Tapas. We called them ‘the Doctors’. Sometimes we would sit out on our balcony and their laughter would float up around us. One man was the joker. He had a loud Glaswegian accent. He was Gerry McCann”

“Gerry was outgoing, a wisecracker, but considerate and kind”…

“Then Gerry stood up and began showing Kate his new tennis stroke. She looked at him and smiled. ‘You wouldn’t be interested if I talked about my tennis like that,” Jes said to me. We watched them some more. Kate was calm, still, quietly beautiful; Gerry was confident, proud, silly, strong.

Danielle Steele Vanished – so too has Madeleine McCann 

We know him. But: “Privately I was glad we didn’t get their apartment. It was on a corner by the road and people could see in. They were exposed”
A sense of forboding. Dum, dum durdle-durdle, durdle… 

“I once worked as a producer in the BBC crime unit. I directed many reconstructions and spent my second pregnancy producing new investigations for Crimewatch”. Her husband is Jeremy Wilkins, the TV producer, spotted by the tabloid press in “MADDIE: THE SECRET WITNESS

Fact and fiction: “Detectives would call me daily, detailing their cases, and some stories stay with me still, such as the ones about a girl being snatched from her bath, or her bike, or her garden and then held in the passenger seat, or stuffed in the boot. There was always a vehicle, and the first few hours were crucial to the outcome. Afterwards, they would be dumped naked in an alley, or at a petrol station with a £10 note to ‘get a cab back to Mummy’. They would be found within an hour or two. Sometimes”

Knock knock: “The translator had a squint and sweated slightly. He was breathless, perhaps a little excited. We later found out he was Robert Murat. He reminded me of a boy in my class at school who was bullied”

The boy who never had a go on the bouncy castle… 

Gerry and Kate are spotted two day after Madeleine has gone missing: “Kate’s back and shoulders, her hands, her mouth had reshaped themselves in to the angular manifestation of a silent scream. I thought I might cry and turned so that she wouldn’t see. Gerry was upright, his lips now drawn into a thin, impenetrable line”

Back home: “’Did you have a good trip?’ asked the cabbie at Gatwick, instantly underlining the conversational dilemma that would occupy the first few weeks: Do we say ‘Yes, thanks’ and move swiftly on? Or divulge the ‘yes-but-no-but’ truth of our ‘Maddy’ experience?”

Or do you tell the Guardian all about it?

Posted: 14th, December 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann Comments (105) | TrackBack | Permalink