The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe started last night (17th April) and has certainly got the nation talking once more about Anne and John Darwin.


The Hartlepool couple were convicted of fraud in 2008 after John tried to fake his own death in order to claim life insurance money. Their plan fell apart from when they attempted to start a new life in Panama but visa laws meant they couldn’t.

In an exclusive Big RT Interview with Eddie Marsan, who plays John Darwin, the actor told about how he approached playing the real person.

Marsan explained: “It was important for me to find a reason, within my own mind of why he did it, and what he was trying to achieve. And I think my main motivation for John Darwin was he was just scared of being humiliated.

“He had such deep, low self esteem, really, that the idea of being bankrupt would have destroyed his public persona, as he perceived it. And so he came up with this crazy idea that was really just a short term response to impending bankruptcy, and there was no real long term thinking beyond it.”

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Read on for your essential guide to the series, including start time, cast and much more.

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The series is inspired by an unpublished manuscript penned by David Leigh, the journalist who first found Anne when she was living in Panama, where the couple moved following their 2002 insurance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

Read about The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe cast here.

Is there a The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe trailer

Yes, you can view the trailer for The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe here:

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