The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe tells the unbelievable true story of John Darwin, who faked his own death on a canoeing trip in 2002 to claim the insurance money.


However, Monica Dolan has now revealed that it's actually her character, John's then-wife Anne, who narrates the drama - and it seems we should take what she says with a pinch of salt.

Anne was in on the fraud with John, even keeping the secret that he was still alive from her children, so it makes sense that she should be the one to tell this stranger-than-fiction story.

When asked what appealed to her about The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, Dolan said: "What’s not to like about it? It’s an astonishingly interesting relationship between John and Anne. It’s also a series of events that is incredibly bizarre, and yet if you follow what they were trying to do, every individual event makes sense.

"One of the things I found very, very clever is that Anne is narrating the story, so there’s this whole issue of her mendacity. How true will her narration be? How much of what she is saying is genuine?

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"Every scene has been illuminating about how people from all these different bodies – the police, the family liaison unit and her legal representatives – viewed her."

Monica Dolan as Anne Darwin and Eddie Marsan as John Darwin
Monica Dolan as Anne Darwin and Eddie Marsan as John Darwin ITV

The couple's deception was eventually uncovered in 2007, five years after John's disappearance, when a recent photograph of the couple in Panama surfaced.

Dolan continued: "There’s so much to be played in terms of 'how good a liar is she?' If you’re lying badly, it makes other people look stupid, and they can’t all have been stupid in this story.

"The audience know she’s lying, and there’s no mileage in making it too obvious. Also, I don’t think John could have achieved what he did without her, and yet she inspires sympathy in people. It’s a terrific tale about an unreliable narrator."

The four-part series will air later this month on ITV, so viewers don't have long to wait until they can decide just how much they trust Dolan's version of Anne Darwin.

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The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe begins on Sunday 17th April at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub. You can also get a 30-day free trial of ITV Hub+ on Amazon Prime Video here.

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