Eddie Marsan, Monica Dolan film ITV drama

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ITV A new ITV drama, The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, begins filming this week in the north east starring Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan. 

The four-part series from Story Films is written by Chris Lang and centres on events in 2002 when John Darwin (Marsan) faked his own death to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy.

The drama will focus on how John’s wife Anne (Dolan), became complicit in her husband’s deception convincing family, friends, the police and insurance companies, that John had gone missing while canoeing off the coast of Seaton Carew in Cleveland, where the couple owned two houses. 

Anne continued to lie to their sons for five years while John was actually spending the early days of the fraud living in a bedsit next door. Eventually John and Anne decided to move to Panama City, until their scam was revealed by a photo of them posing in a Panamanian estate agent’s office in 2006.  The couple were both jailed for more than six years. 

At her trial Anne Darwin pleaded not guilty, arguing that she had been coerced into the plot by her husband, but the jury didn’t believe her. She and her husband were both jailed for more than six years.

 Susie Liggatt and Lang executive  produce with Alison Sterling producing and Richard Laxton directing. Lang based the scripts on the unpublished manuscript written by journalist David Leigh who was the first journalist to track down Anne. 

Writer Lang said: “I am beyond delighted to be working with two of the finest actors of their generation. I have admired them both from afar for many years (not in a creepy way though) and cannot wait to see them bring Anne and John Darwin to life.”