The premiere of BBC One’s new drama Dark Money, which tells the story of teenage movie star who is sexually abused by a Hollywood producer, proved to be incredibly difficult viewing for audiences on Monday night.
Written by Levi David Addai (Damilola, Our Beloved Boy), the new, four-part drama depicts the emotional and legal struggles of the Mensah family after their 13-year-old Isaac (Max Fincham) reveals he was sexually assaulted whilst filming a major blockbuster.
However, it was one scene in particular, in which the parents (Jill Halfpenny and Babou Ceesay) watch video evidence of the abuse, that left viewers horrified.
In the opening episode’s shocking twist, the parents accepted a payment of £3 million in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), promising to keep quiet about the abuse.
And with them being threatened with heavy legal action if they break the terms of their agreement, they must now come to terms with their decision to take the money, rather than seek justice.
Addai wrote the series two years ago, but didn’t realise how relevant it would become in today’s climate.
In October 2017, producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting a number of women, sparking the #MeToo movement. It was then reported that some of the woman had signed NDAs.
Earlier this year, we also saw the release of the documentary Leaving Neverland, about Michael Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse of two young boys.
However, Addai started writing Dark Money before these stories came to light.
"I began developing the idea and writing the script before those stories actually became mainstream," he told the BBC. "So I was in this weird position where I was doing this thing that was totally original, as it were, and as it was getting closer to getting green lit, the news just exploded.
"And people were like, 'Wow, have you heard?' But for me personally, I was like, 'I know these things are going on, this is not big news for me'. But I was fortunate enough that the BBC allowed me to continue telling my story."