Sinead Keenan, star of hit ITV drama Little Boy Blue, has spoken about the responsibility she felt playing the mother of Rhys Jones, and has revealed how the parents of the tragic murdered schoolboy reacted to the series. During an appearance on This Morning on Wednesday, Sinead revealed that Melanie and Steve Jones were given an "open invitation" to visit the set during the making of Little Boy Blue, and shared that Steve had actually come to watch the court room scene being filmed.
Rhys was just 11 when he was shot dead after getting caught in the crossfire of a gang war in Croxteth, Liverpool in 2007. The makers of Little Boy Blue decided to use the actual courtroom where Rhys' murderers were found guilty in the show, and on that day of filming dad Steve bravely decided to attend.
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Sinead Keenan opened up about filming Little Boy Blue on This Morning
"Obviously there was an open invitation for Mel and Steve to come down and watch filming whenever they wanted," Sinead said. "But the very nature of the piece meant every day would be a difficult day.
"But Steve and [his son] Owen came down into that court room, which was the actual court room where the trial took place. And I remember, Steve was on set and, I was watching him and Owen thinking, 'God', because this particular scene we were filming was the scene where the boys were behaving like animals. And I thought, 'God, that's so close to the bone. Should they be watching it?' But Steve apparently said to our producer, 'Look, that's exactly how it was. And I'm glad you're portraying it so people can see.'"
Sinead and Brian F. O'Byrne as Rhys Jones' parents, Melanie and Steve
Speaking about portraying Melanie in the series, Sinead told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't any pressure when I was doing this role. This is somebody's nightmare and you just want to get it right for them. It's a huge responsibility. Other people liking it is a great bonus, but I just wanted Melanie and Steve to be alright with it… It is really hard to watch it back because this is not just a story. This is something people are still living through."