The disappearance of Madeleine McCann: Documentary lands on Netflix Australia

Struggling to keep up with the never-ending outpour of true-crime shows available on Netflix? No? Good, because we’ve got another one for you – and it’s a mystery that remains unsolved to this day.

That’s right; Netflix is bringing the tragically controversial story of Madeleine McCann to our screens in an eight-part series that drops March 15. ‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ documents the English girl’s disappearance, popular theories and conspiracies, and the media storm that continues to follow the case to this day.

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

On the night of May 3, 2007, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann was left sleeping alongside her two siblings whilst her parents dined at a restaurant in a Portuguese holiday resort a mere 55 metres away. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were checking up on the children every 30 minutes. However, their lives changed forever when Kate went up to check on the children at 10pm. She discovered the children’s bedroom door to be wide open – with Madeleine’s bed empty, bar a pink blanket and a stuffed cat. She was reported missing to the police at 10:10pm, and at 10:30pm the resort began a missing-child search.

Madeleine McCann in the media

The story of sweet Madeleine McCann consumed the world; an innocent, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl taken from her family broke the hearts of people everywhere. In an article by The Atlantic, journalist Sophie Gilbert stated: “It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t in Britain in 2007 what living though the Madeleine McCann news cycle was like. At the time, the 3-year-old’s face was everywhere a picture could be replicated – on T-shirts, on posters, on fliers adorning car windshields, on banners over soccer stadiums, on every front page of every paper every day.”

And yet, the news cycle continues today, even down here in Australia. Updates on the $15 million search (yes, you read that right) continue to spark interest and make news both on television and digitally – made even more ‘clickable’ online by the conspiracy theories about what actually happened.

The documentary, theories and conspiracies…

‘The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ is a true-crime doco in the same nature of ‘Captive for 18 Years: The Jaycee Lee Story’ and ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’. It features over 40 experts and key figures linked to the case, as well as Brit tourist Neil Berry, who was staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz when Madeleine went missing.

The main theory the doco claims is that Madeleine was a victim of human trafficking, and incredibly, could still be alive today. However, it also takes note of the hundreds of other theories surrounding the case – none more controversial than that the parents were the ones who killed her…

Kate and Gerry McCann also added fuel to the fire by posting a statement on their official website,, where they explained their choice not to participate in the documentary, despite Netflix reaching out to them. “We did not see and still do not see how this performance will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, could potentially hinder it.”

Many have also argued whether it’s ethically right to create and build an entire television series on a child that has never been found. Watch and decide for yourself.

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