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Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan film ITV drama about conman John Darwin

Eddie Marsan transformed into conman John Darwin to resume filming for a new ITV drama about the criminal on Monday. 

The actor, 52, braved the showers in Hartlepool, County Durham, as he joined his on-screen wife Monica Dolan, who portrays Anne, on set. 

The new ITV drama is set to depict Anne’s involvement in her husband’s deception by faking his death in a canoeing accident in a bid to cash in on their life insurance.   

Filming: Eddie Marsan transformed into conman John Darwin to resume filming for a new ITV drama about the criminal on Monday 

Co-star: The actor, 52, braved the showers in Hartlepool, County Durham, as he joined his on-screen wife Monica Dolan, who portrays Anne, on set

Co-star: The actor, 52, braved the showers in Hartlepool, County Durham, as he joined his on-screen wife Monica Dolan, who portrays Anne, on set 

During the latest scenes, Eddie got caught in a rain downpour as he wore a thick green jumper and jeans while dressed as conman John Darwin.

The actor and Monica, who wore a blue jacket, were also seen carrying a large wooden table into a property, while a variety of other furniture was scattered in the street. 

In between takes the stars of the show were seen wearing black padded jackets to warm up and Monica also donned a plastic rain hat to shield her hair from the showers.

As well as the actors, the film crew were also drenched in the downpours despite wearing waterproof clothing and plastic camera covers. 

Spitting image: Eddie is playing conman Darwin in the drama

Clean shaven: John Darwin is pictured in 2008

Spitting image: Eddie (left) is playing conman Darwin (right in 2008) in the drama depicting his attempt to fake his death for a life insurance payment

Twins: Monica will play Darwin's wife Anne

Plot: Anne is pictured in 2007

Twins: Monica (left) will play Darwin’s wife Anne (right in 2007), who became complicit in his con that made nationwide headlines

The latest insight into filming comes as photographs from set earlier in the day showed Marsan appearing to get into the Christmas spirit as he donned a Santa hat and enjoyed a glass of champagne.

The Sherlock Holmes star appeared to be recreating the moment Darwin ordered his wife Anne to take photos with his new Range Rover, with neighbours clueless of the fact that the landlords were facing mounting debts. 

The ITV drama will focus on how John’s wife Anne became complicit in her husband’s deception to convince the world he’d gone missing in an attempt to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy. 

However, the crime was to take its toll on Anne who lied to their sons, Mark and Anthony, for five years whilst her husband, in the early days of the fraud, secretly lived in a bedsit next door to the home he shared with Anne.

Downpour: During the latest scenes, Eddie got caught in a rain downpour as he wore a thick green jumper and jeans while dressed as conman John Darwin

Downpour: During the latest scenes, Eddie got caught in a rain downpour as he wore a thick green jumper and jeans while dressed as conman John Darwin 

On set: The actor and Monica, who wore a blue jacket, were also seen carrying a large wooden table into a property

Busy: While a variety of other furniture was scattered in the street

On set: The actor and Monica, who wore a blue jacket, were also seen carrying a large wooden table into a property, while a variety of other furniture was scattered in the street

Windy: In between takes the stars of the show were seen wearing black padded jackets to warm up

Windy: In between takes the stars of the show were seen wearing black padded jackets to warm up

Devastated by the loss of their father, neither son had an inkling their parents were capable of such treachery and being involved in a £679,000 insurance scam.

Anne and John, now 70, eventually decided to leave Seaton Carew and move to Panama City to start a new life together before their secret was exposed by the discovery of a photo of them posing in a Panama real estate office in July 2006.

John had been travelling back and forth between Panama and the UK and turned up at a London police station in 2007 claiming he’d been suffering from amnesia.

At her trial Anne pleaded not guilty, arguing that she had been coerced into the plot by her husband, but the jury didn’t believe her.

Wet and windy: Despite the unfortunate British weather conditions, the cast and crew powered through the wind and rain to record the scenes

Wet and windy: Despite the unfortunate British weather conditions, the cast and crew powered through the wind and rain to record the scenes

Wet and windy: Despite the unfortunate British weather conditions, the cast and crew powered through the wind and rain to record the scenes  

John was ordered to serve six years and three months in prison while his wife, who police described as a compulsive liar, got six years and six months. She was released from prison in 2011.

Since the astonishing case, the couple have divorced, with John remarrying, and Anne opting for a quiet life away from the headlines.

And in January 2021 it was reported that the former teacher has settled into a new life in the Philippines with new wife Mercy May, who at 47 is 23 years his junior.

The couple married in 2015 after striking up a romance online.

John receives a state pension of around £134 a week, while his wife, a mother-of-three, sub-lets a clothing stall and owns another shop. 

She told The Mirror: ‘I have a new business. I’ve had it for three years now. Boom. Making money.’

Taking cover: In between takes the stars of the show were seen wearing black padded jackets to warm up from the wet weather

Taking cover: In between takes the stars of the show were seen wearing black padded jackets to warm up from the wet weather 

Costume: Monica also donned a plastic rain hat to shield her hair from the showers

Costume: Monica also donned a plastic rain hat to shield her hair from the showers

Costume: Monica also donned a plastic rain hat to shield her hair from the showers

In 2016 Anne wrote a book about the scandal, revealing she been disowned by their two sons.

Writing in Out of my Depth, the so-called ‘Canoe Wife,’ wrote: ‘Why did I do it? That is the question I still ask myself today. Why, when I got home, did I make that phone call to the police?

‘I was never motivated by money. That wasn’t the reason. Incredible though it may sound, the only reason I had was my loyalty to John.’

She has since reconciled with her sons, and was last known to be working for the RSPCA in York after gaining qualifications in IT and business while in prison. 

Drenched: As well as the actors, the film crew were also drenched in the downpours despite wearing waterproof clothing

Drenched: As well as the actors, the film crew were also drenched in the downpours despite wearing waterproof clothing

ITV’s drama The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe is based upon the unpublished manuscript written by journalist David Leigh who was the first journalist to track down Anne as she was on the verge of setting up a new life in Panama.

Stars Monica and Eddie will be joined in the cast by Mark Stanley (White House Farm) and Karl Pilkington (Sick of It, Derek), whose roles have not yet been revealed.

Speaking about his new role, Eddie 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.

Premise: The ITV drama will focus on how John's wife Anne became complicit in her husband's deception to convince the world he'd gone missing in an attempt to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy

Toll: However, the crime was to take its toll on Anne who lied to their sons, Mark and Anthony, for five years whilst her husband, in the early days of the fraud, secretly lived in a bedsit next door to the home he shared with Anne

Premise: The ITV drama will focus on how John’s wife Anne became complicit in her husband’s deception to convince the world he’d gone missing in an attempt to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy 

‘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.’

And Monica 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 breath-taking 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 real life story is written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang, who said: ‘I am beyond delighted to be working with two of the finest actors of their generation.

Real life: John and Anne tried to convinced the world that John had gone missing whilst canoeing but were rumbled by a snap of them in a Panama estate agent in July 2006 (pictured)

Real life: John and Anne tried to convinced the world that John had gone missing whilst canoeing but were rumbled by a snap of them in a Panama estate agent in July 2006 (pictured)

‘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.’

The four-part drama is produced by Story Films, the company founded by three times BAFTA-winner David Nath and fellow award-winning director Peter Beard.

Susie Liggat (Giri/Haji) also executive produces, with Alison Sterling (The Windermere Children) producing.

They will be joined by the celebrated screenwriter of Unforgotten and Innocent Chris Lang who also executive produces the four part series. BAFTA winning director, Richard Laxton, (Honour, Mrs Wilson, Mum) directs each of the four episodes.

The drama has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Polly Hill and will be produced in association with All3Media International.

Sheltered: To ensure filming could still go ahead, with realistic British weather, the cameras on set were covered in plastic covers

Sheltered: To ensure filming could still go ahead, with realistic British weather, the cameras on set were covered in plastic covers

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk