Film crew prevented from entering the temple in Praia da Luz
Father Pacheco, who once gave the church keys to the McCanns, affixed posters at the door with the words “no cameras allowed”
Father Pacheco, who is responsible for the little church of Praia da Luz, refused for the filming of the new McCann documentary to be carried out inside the church, and even journalists were invited not to enter the place. Posters in Portuguese and in English were even placed at the entrance, forbidding the access of cameras.
According to a source that is close to the priest, Father Pacheco, who was vastly criticised in 2007 for giving the church key to the McCanns, this time didn’t want the “circus” that was created by the presence of Maddie’s father to affect the religious ceremonies of Palm Sunday, and even feared the reaction of the people.
Warned about the priest’s refusal, Gerry McCann ended up going to the church alone, yesterday morning. Madeleine’s father entered the church at 8 a.m., an hour earlier than scheduled.
Clarence Mitchell had informed the journalists that Maddie’s father would go to church at around 9 a.m., and asked journalists not to be on location: neither Gerry respected his spokesman’s schedule nor journalists failed to be on location.
Contrary to what happened during the months that followed Madeleine’s disappearance, when the McCanns were warmly welcome in the church by the public, this time Gerry McCann was ignored by the vast majority of residents, with only a few comments of revolt being heard upon exit from the religious service.
Little girl threw a “tantrum” during filming
The false ‘Maddie’ from the new McCann documentary didn’t make the production’s work easy, and on Saturday night refused to cooperate in the filming despite the insistence of her mother and of the other actors.
The little four-year-old girl, who is the daughter of Kate and Gerry McCann’s friends, ended the night of Saturday crying and fighting in her mother’s arms.
Wearing socks and a pyjama that was identical to the one that Madeleine allegedly wore on the night of the disappearance, the little girl, who somewhat resembles the true Maddie, was always in the company of her mother and of the wife of the Anglican priest of Praia da Luz, but not this made it possible for the filming to be concluded, and everything was postponed to yesterday evening, away from the disapproving looks from members of the public who were present on location.
It was at around 11.45 p.m. on Saturday evening that Kate and Gerry McCann’s spokesman ended up apologising to the journalists, saying that it would be impossible to photograph or film the child that evening.
“Can you see that… It’s so cold and the child is standing there wearing socks”, a member of the public protested incredulously, adding that “it had to be English people to do something like that.”
Truck greeted with insults
It was with insults and whistles that the local population greeted the only truck that circulates in the area of Praia da Luz with an outdoor where the photograph of Madeleine McCann can be seen with the key words of the little campaign that the couple has launched: “Don’t give up on me!”
The driver himself, with a thick Northern accent, explained to 24horas that he has been circulating in the area “because work has to be done”, but that when he needs to park, he “feels safer near the journalists and the GNR that is present on location”.
The truck, which was always present near the filming location, is one of the few pieces of the campaign that can still be found in Praia da Luz, given the fact that almost all the posters have been ripped off and even the outdoor that is located at the village’s entrance is only partially visible after unknown persons covered it with white paint.
According to a representative of the company, “dreamMedia publicidade” from Vila Nova de Gaia, the truck arrived in the Algarve on the 29th of March and will remain there until Tuesday, the day when the campaign ends.
Surprised about the bad reception
Kate and Gerry McCann, like their 7 English friends, didn’t come to participate in the reconstitution that the Polícia Judiciária had requested earlier “because that was only for police work” and didn’t help the search for Madeleine at all.
For the couple’s spokesman, only a documentary on television can make people see what happened that night.
To 24horas, Clarence Mitchell, Kate and Gerry McCann’s spokesman, lamented the upset that the filming may have caused to the inhabitants and the tourism in Praia da Luz and confessed that he was surprised about the reactions that he could observe, but stated again that “it is necessary for people to understand that the new leads that were revealed by the ongoing private investigation in the area have to be complemented with this documentary.”
“We have already apologised over the disturbance that we have caused to the people of Praia da Luz but you must understand that Maddie’s parents see this documentary as necessary to continue the investigations into their daughter’s whereabouts”, the McCanns’ spokesman said, stressing once more that “there is no evidence that Maddie is dead”, despite recognising that “according to logics” many people may think the contrary.
An American was hired to play Kate McCann
The actress that came to Portugal to play the role of Kate McCann is Lisa Donovan, an American, aged 40, who was chosen due to her vague physical resemblance with Madeleine’s mother.
Chosen during a casting in England, Lisa didn’t even have the opportunity to talk to or to meet Kate to prepare her role, but said that she is very nervous and emotional about entering the bedroom where Maddie was supposedly abducted from. ‘Supposedly’ because, as the actress confesses, it’s not her “who can say” what actually happened to the little girl.
During her only contact with the media, always under Clarence Mitchell’s vigilant look, the actress, who was born in Philadelphia, in the United States, came to Portugal for the first time but confessed that she was delighted about our country and the marvellous climate that she encountered in Praia da Luz.
Just like had already been the case with the other actors – a total of 15 – the McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, followed attentively everything that Lisa told the journalists. All the actors, who are paid by Mentorn Media, were forced to sign a confidentiality contract that prevents them, even after the filming is concluded, from revealing what happened away from the eyes of the media professionals.
Without revealing what steps she walked during the reconstitution, the American actress simply followed instructions from Merntorn Media’s production team and Gerry McCann’s advices, after visiting several times all the locations that the couple said it had frequented during their stay in Praia da Luz. “I just learned about the area, the locations and what I had to do”, Lisa said, shrugging her shoulders at any question that might reveal the contents of the script that was used for the filming.
Negotiations to be broadcast by SIC
The two private investigators who followed all of the filming will remain in Portugal and expect the broadcasting of the documentary, which included “new leads” that were obtained through witness statements that were collected in Praia da Luz, to help to find Madeleine’s trail.
According to Clarence Mitchell, “leads that were discarded by the Polícia Judiciária” are still being followed by the investigators.
The communication and public relations expert confirmed that the actors and everything that relates to the filming was being paid by Mentorn Media, the company that is producing the documentary that Channel Four will broadcast in England on the 7th of May.
“In Portugal, the documentary may equally be broadcast on the 7th of May, a few hours after Channel Four does it”, Clarence said, adding that “everything depends on the final agreement with SIC”.
Duarte Levy on 24horas