ITV has ordered a new documentary from Naked about the life of Australian millionairess Melissa Caddick who went for a morning run in Sydney in November 2020 and never returned home.

ITV has also acquired a drama about the story, Vanishing Act [WT]  from distributor DCD Rights.

Three months after Caddick’s disappearance, surfers on a beach 250 miles south of Sydney made a grisly discovery – a washed up trainer containing human remains.

The story gripped Australia – on the surface she was a successful businesswoman who had everything she ever dreamed of including a family, luxury penthouse and designer wardrobe. But what transpired was that Melissa, a financial advisor, had cheated 74 victims, including her friends and family, out of $AUD23 million.

Life and Limb: The Missing Millionairess, produced by Naked (a Fremantle label), will explore the extraordinary disappearance of this committed fraudster, which has spawned countless competing theories amongst web sleuthing communities and generated thousands of news articles. It will seek to aid and narrate the story of Melissa’s victims, as well as bring them some true closure in this modern-day tale of deceit, mystery and the still missing millions of dollars.

Fatima Salaria, Managing Director of Naked and Life and Limb Executive Producer says, “At the heart of this missing persons case is a handful of victims and many, many missing millions. Potentially finding out what happened to Melissa and drawing attention to her case globally, it could bring an important chance for closure for so many of the people involved.”

Jo Clinton-Davis, ITV Controller of Factual, said: “We have had demonstrable success coupling the real story to dramas  based on true events.  The real story of Melissa Caddick is inherently full of drama and intrigue and with a sharp focus on the victims as well as unpicking each strand of the mystery we are sure this will be a compelling and  extraordinary feature documentary.”

Life and Limb: The Missing Millionairess (1 x 90), was commissioned by Jo Clinton-Davis, Controller of Factual, ITV. The Executive Producers will be Fatima Salaria and Fiona Caldwell for Naked (a Fremantle label).

Fremantle will distribute the series internationally.

Vanishing Act [WT]  from distributor DCD Rights, a Screentime Banijay Production drama, tells the story of  Melissa Caddick’s disappearance after being confronted by authorities for her alleged multi-million dollar swindling.  The three part series portrays Australia in the grip of the mystery as theories abound about Melissa’s fate following the discovery of her disembodied foot inside her running shoe.  Vanishing Act [WT] tells the story of this charismatic con-artist, as well as those who suddenly found themselves grieving for a lost friend and daughter, while coming to terms with a monumental betrayal.

Vanishing Act [WT] stars: Kate Atkinson, Colin Friels, Jerome Velinsky and Maya Stange.

Nicky Davies Williams, CEO at DCD Rights, said: “We’re delighted that Vanishing Act has been picked up for ITV and ITVX.  It is a captivating, real-life mystery crime drama which will appeal to ITV viewers, as it has to audiences in Australia.”

Both Life and Limb: The Missing Millionairess and Vanishing Act will be shown on ITV and ITVX.

Jon Creamer

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