Ben Affleck's directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, has been pulled from the line-up of October's London film festival due to striking parallels with the Madeleine McCann case. The plot follows two Boston detectives as they search for a missing four-year-old girl in the city's underworld.

Speaking after a screening in Deauville, France, last week the Hollywood actor intimated that film bosses would postpone its UK release. "We have much greater concern for Madeleine McCann than we do for the release of our project," he said, describing her disappearance as "a matter of life and death".

The decision to pull the film came as Portuguese police analyse the diaries of Madeleine's mother Kate, which she wrote in the hope of eventually proving her love to her daughter.

"That wee girl will be thinking 'They're not looking for me. My mummy, daddy and aunties; they don't love me because they can't find me'," said Kate's sister-in-law, Philomena McCann who persuaded her to start the journal.

Meanwhile, social workers have visited the family's house to check on the welfare of the couple's other two children, twins Amelia and Sean. The McCanns invited child protection experts into their home after being advised that a social services inquiry was standard in such cases.

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The mystery Gone Baby Gone stars Morgan Freeman and actress Amy Ryan, seen here in her role as the mother of a missing four-year-old girlPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
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At its French premiere actor-turned-director Ben said that eery parallels with the disappearance of Madeleine meant the team behind the film, which also stars his brother Casey, were considering postponing the UK openingPhoto: © Getty Images