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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Pauline Quirke stars in new drama and Missing Live returns to BBC Daytime – introduction

L-R: Mark Wingett, Pauline Quirke, Pooja Shah and Felix Scott in Missing

Missing Live returns to BBC One Daytime following a hugely successful first run last year, exploring the work of missing persons investigations with direct appeals for missing people in a live daily studio show.

When someone goes missing, lives are irrevocably changed. Those left behind have to learn to deal with the possibility that their loved one had a secret life, and the painful reality that they may never discover if they are still alive.

Louise Minchin (BBC Breakfast) and Rav Wilding (Crimewatch) return as the hosts of the compelling and often emotional series which reveals the valuable ongoing work of police forces across the country and the UK charity Missing People, as they try to discover the whereabouts of some of the approximately 200,000 people who are reported missing each year.

Missing Live asks viewers for assistance with new cases and makes appeals on long-term cases in a live and fully interactive TV series.

As well as urgent appeals, the series will also feature up-to-the-minute information on cases featured and stories of loved ones reunited with people who have been missing or separated – sometimes for years.

The programme is on BBC One each weekday morning for a month, also giving a behind-the-scenes insight in to the roles of the people who work tirelessly to find vulnerable missing people.

In 17 of the cases featured on the programme during the last series, the missing person was found, seven of those were as a direct result of appeals during the show.

Throughout the series, hundreds of phone calls and sightings were reported to the programme. The series also received praise in an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

Seventy-one-year-old John Delaney was featured last year on Missing Live. Suffering from memory loss, and unable to remember who he was, his son saw the programme and recognised him.

However, he thought he had cremated his father several years previously. Father and son have now been reunited as a direct result of the series.

The programme revisits his son John to talk about the day he discovered his father was still alive.

Other people who were reunited with their families include Paul Hopkins who was spotted on Brighton beach by a viewer where he'd been sleeping rough for a week. Paul has autism and is now back with his parents in Berkshire.

Shahira Ozzer saw herself on TV and called the police who reunited her with her daughter; and Win Lin was spotted by a black cab driver. Win was found disorientated on a London street.

Alison Cowan at the charity Missing People says: "Missing Live is an invaluable piece of programming. It is a unique opportunity to publicise hundreds of vulnerable missing cases during the course of the series. Just as importantly, it brings to the public's attention issues that directly affect the lives of families living in limbo.

"Thanks to the last series, several vulnerable people were found directly – and many more subsequently. We hope that during the new series we will be able to bring many more cases to resolution."

Liam Keelan, Controller of BBC Daytime, says: "We are very proud to have Missing Live back in the BBC Daytime schedule. The last series was instrumental in finding missing people and was commended in the House of Commons.

"We hope that the interest the viewers showed in the last series will be repeated with even more people being found as a result of their calls. An afternoon drama fronted by Pauline Quirke accompanies the series and is a welcome addition to the BBC One Daytime line-up."

This week Missing Live will be appealing for information about 38-year-old Elena Zhagrova. In May last year Elena disappeared after texting her boyfriend Charles to say all was well. Charles has kept the poignant last phone message she left for him a few days before her final text, saying she would call him later. Elena was last seen at Highgate Underground Station, and has not been since. Her flatmate Jenny talks about why she may have gone missing and why they are so worried.

And 88-year-old May Ferns went missing in Scotland after saying she was going to the shops to buy some socks. She was last seen on CCTV in the centre of Edinburgh. The programme appeals for new information.

Missing Live series editor is Rachel Ford; the executive producer is Miles Jarvis and it is a Leopard Films production for the BBC. The executive producer for the BBC is Gerard Melling.

And in a new drama for BBC Daytime, Pauline Quirke stars in Missing, set in a busy Missing Persons Unit.

Pauline plays DS Mary Jane Croft, a charismatic detective who runs the under-resourced unit. But MJ, as she likes to be known, has her own dark secret – a missing sister. Each case is a race against time as so often, they involve people at risk, either from themselves or others.

Missing also stars Mark Wingett (The Bill) as Dan Hayworth, a former crime journalist hosting his own radio show for the first time; Pooja Shah (Bend It Like Beckham, EastEnders) is Amy Garnett, MJ's technically savvy civilian colleague working alongside her in the unit; and Felix Scott (Wire In The Blood, Family Affairs) is young DC Jason Doyle – straight out of Vice and rough around the edges, and with an expectation that the MPU will be dull.

Pauline Quirke says: "I was amazed by how many people do go missing, that was a real eye-opener. There are the cases we all hear about, but so many that we don't. It surprised me that in this day and age with all the CCTV cameras and a big brother society that it is still possible to disappear."

Missing is produced by Julie Press, executive produced by Joey Attawia, James Burstall and Susie Field. It is written by Roy Boulter (The Street), Matt Leys (The Street), Ann-Marie Di Mambro (Casualty), and Karen McLachlan (New Tricks).

Missing is a Leopardrama production for the BBC. The executive producer for the BBC is Gerard Melling.

In adition, CBBC is running a short season on homelessness providing a window into the world of children who run away and the 130,000 UK children who have no place that they can call home.

Runaway is a three-part drama from award-winning writer/director Paul Wilmshurst (Trial And Retribution).

And Sofa Surfers (street slang for homeless children) tells five stories of child poverty. This insightful documentary series offers the children caught up in being homeless a voice.

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