The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe airs tonight on ITV

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe starts today on ITV and will tell the bizarre true story of Anne and John Darwin.

The Hartlepool couple were convicted of fraud in 2008 after John attempted to fake his own death to claim life insurance money.

While the series is based on real life events, the Darwins didn’t want to be involved in the drama, as revealed by Chris Lang at a recent Q&A.

“No, not direct contact, we approached them all. And none of them were interested in discussing or collaborating on the project,” he said.

“David Leigh, who was the journalist who broke the story… does still speak with Anne and has a good relationship with her. So, you know, I think [he] hopefully has been able to reassure her that it is as sympathetic a telling of her story as is possible, given what she did.

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“But no, they didn’t want to get involved. You know, they have told their story a lot in public, obviously… Yeah, none of them wanted to.”

Read on for everything you need to know about The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe.

When will The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe air?

Anne Darwin with her sons, all dressed in black with wreaths near the sea. (ITV)
Anne Darwin and her sons in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe. ITV

Confirmed: The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe will start at 9pm on 17th April 2022 (Easter Sunday) on ITV.

The four-part mini-series will then air across the week, finishing on 20th April.

It’s currently unknown whether the whole instalment will go to the ITV Hub after the first episode has aired, but we’ll update this page when we know more.

The series is inspired by an unpublished manuscript penned by David Leigh, the journalist who first found Anne when she was living in Panama, where the couple moved following their 2002 insurance scam.

Read more:

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe cast

Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan lead the cast as John and Anne Darwin respectively, while the supporting cast includes Mark Stanley (Anne Boleyn, Sanditon) and Dominic Applewhite (The Inbetweeners) as their grieving sons.

On being cast as John, Marsan previously said: “I’m so thrilled to be working with Chris Lang, one of our greatest writers, and to get the chance to work with Monica Dolan.

“The story of how and why John Darwin faked his own death to defraud insurance companies is fascinating, and if it weren’t fact, you’d think it unbelievable.

“I can’t pretend to understand what was going on in his head when he made those choices, but I’m going to do my absolute best to portray him, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Dolan added: “The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe tells the story of surely the most outrageous fraud of modern times – and my favourite kind of drama is when the outrageous comes from the prosaic.

“As breathtaking as their managing to pull this deception off in the first place, is how spectacularly the couple wrecked it for themselves as soon as they had got away with it.”

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe will start 9pm on 17th April on ITV

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Stevie Flavio
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