The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe started last night and tells the gripping (and true) tale of Anne and John Darwin.


In the 2000s, John faked his own death by paddling out to sea in his canoe - when the canoe was found but his body wasn't, he was announced dead and Anne could claim much-needed life insurance money to pay off their debts.

Audaciously, John lived next door to his wife in the bedsit they owned and was able to walk between the houses through an internal door system - he even walked around the small town of Seaton Carew for some fresh air.

Perhaps more troubling though was how he felt completely comfortable lying to his two sons, making them believe he was dead.

According to Eddie Marsan, this invincible personality trait of John's would have been seen in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, had the scene not been cut.

Speaking exclusively to in The Big RT Interview, Marsan spoke of a deleted scene: "There was one scene where John's told about his father's death when he's in prison, and he doesn't really care. I've always thought that was a really good scene because it's so much about John, but I wasn't in the editing suite.

"I think it was a shame that it couldn't be highlighted in the story because it explains a lot of his thinking towards his sons. Because the thing about John being a narcissist is, he believes that everybody thinks the same way he thinks.

"So he thought, because he had an estranged relationship with his father, he thought that, 'If my father died, I'd be upset for a couple of weeks'. And that's what he thought his sons would do. And never realised that his sons will be brokenhearted for years.”

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Speaking more about John's actions, Marsan added that he found filming in John's home town of Seaton Carew "eye-opening".

Eddie Marsen
Eddie Marsan as John Darwin.

"It's not very big. It's literally about a mile long. It really made me realise how deluded John Darwin was," he said. "Because when he went missing, the police and the television cameras and all the emergency services kicked into action and it was already the biggest thing that happened to Seaton Carew in 100 years.

"And two weeks later, he was walking up and down the seafront in this kind of disguise thinking no one would recognise it. That's a classic narcissist."

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The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe continues on ITV and the ITV Hub tonight at 9pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out our TV Guide.


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