Note: The following article contains discussion of child abuse and sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.
BBC One premiered its disturbing new four-part series Dark Money tonight (July 8), and viewers were left heartbroken by its devastating depiction of child abuse.
Written by Levi David Addai (writer of the award-winning 2016 drama Damilola, Our Beloved Boy), Dark Money follows the life of a 13-year-old boy named Isaac (Max Fincham), who returns home from Hollywood after filming a major blockbuster.
In the opening episode, his parents Sam (Jill Halfpenny from Waterloo Road and EastEnders) and Manny Mensah (Babou Ceesay) were eager to greet their son upon his return, but they were soon left distraught after he showed them a horrifying video on his phone of him being sexually abused by the film’s producer.
In distressing scenes, the parents broke down in tears as they watched the video in its entirety, prompting heartbroken viewers to share their horror on social media.
One viewer tweeted: “OMG that video was hard to listen too, poor Issac #DarkMoney.”
While another wrote: “I can see many parents watching this never letting their children out of their sight ever again. It’s awful. #DarkMoney.”
Despite having video evidence of the assault, it soon transpired that finding justice wouldn’t be an easy task for Isaac and his family, as they were overcome with the weight of the legal battle ahead of them.
However, the episode finished with an unsettling twist as Sam and Manny were offered £3 million to not the pursue the case any further – and they took it.
With the parents threatened with heavy legal action if they break their agreement, they must now come to terms with their decision to take the money and how it will affect Isaac.
Dark Money continues tomorrow (July 9) at 9pm on BBC One.
Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (www.nspcc.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline on (1-800-422-4453) or the American SPCC (www.americanspcc.org).
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.