The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe has attracted rave reviews & has already become one of the top ten rated dramas of the last three years, with a whopping 9m viewers so far.
Praise for The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe
‘Chris Lang’s delicious rendition of this true life caper….Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan were both superb, the script was clever, always with one eye on the ludicrousness of the situation.’
‘A delight….engrossing, thought-provoking and with a wicked dose of black humour. Chris Lang’s hilariously deadpan script….the marvellous Eddie Marsan is superb…un-missable drama.’
‘Dolan and Marsan are both superb….laugh out loud.’
‘Monica Dolan gave an acting masterclass… seriously compelling viewing. A very British crime story, superbly told.’
The Daily Telegraph
‘Chris Lang’s finely pitched retelling of the story. Performance of the week.’
The Daily Mirror
‘(Lang’s)… droll and disobliging reimagining of the couple will remain unforgettable.’
‘A treat, Eddie Marsan is on tremendous form…strikes just the right tragic-comic note.’
‘A brilliantly entertaining drama, full of comic moments in a fleet footed script.’
Mail on Sunday
‘ITV has really pulled off a winner, quirky, off beat, hard hitting and truly memorable…brilliant.’
‘A thoroughly captivating watch…stellar performances…a stroke of genius.’
‘The most glorious series of the year so far. I could not stop watching. It was delicious. It was comic yet tragic. It made you laugh, made you cry. It was unavoidably gripping.’
‘Dolan was magnificent.’
‘A brilliantly acted dramatisation…Marson and Dolan are excellent.’
The fourth season of Chris Lang’s Unforgotten has been nominated for a Bafta in the category Best Drama Series .
The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards will take place on Sunday 8 May
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April sees the screening of of The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, Chris Lang’s four-part drama tells the true story of Hartlepool couple John (Eddie Marsan) and Anne Darwin (Monica Dolan), who faked John’s death during a supposed canoe accident in 2002 before John was discovered to be alive, leading to their arrest and prison sentencing in 2008.
The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe explores John Darwin’s big scam and how it was carry out. It also show how Anne (played by Monica Dolan) became complicit in her husband’s bizarre deception to avoid bankruptcy, as she played the grieving widow and tried to convince the world, their friends, the police and insurance companies that John had gone missing while canoeing off the North East coast. Even their sons, Mark and Anthony, were none the wiser for five years, as their father secretly lived hidden in a bedsit next door to the home he shared with Anne.Read More »
Series 4 of Chris Lang’s Unforgotten has been nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in the category Best Drama Series.
Chair of the Awards, Kenton Allen, said: “Despite the unprecedented challenges the last two years have presented every single one of us, the sheer talent and amazing professionalism from UK creatives both in front of and behind the camera, has truly shone through. This year’s nominees are incredible examples of the phenomenal skills and world-class talent working in UK television. A huge congratulations to all those nominated. We’re really looking forward to gathering, in real life, to celebrate our wonderful industry at the RTS Programme Awards for the first time since those halcyon days of 2019.”
See the full list of nominations hereRead More »
Chris Lang has been nominated for Best Writer at the 2022 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for his series Unforgotten.
The winners will be announced at the 48th BPG Awards lunch on Friday March 25th 2022, at The Brewery in the City of London, sponsored by YouTube. The Harvey Lee Award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting is in the gift of the BPG Executive Committee and will be presented as well.
A full list of categories and nominees can be found at the BPG websiteRead More »
Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan take the roles of Anne and John Darwin in ITV’s The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang and produced by award winning producers, Story Films
Renowned actors, Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan, will play Anne and John Darwin in the extraordinary and compelling ITV drama, The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe.
The real life story of how John Darwin, played by BIFA nominee Eddie Marsan (Ray Donovan, Sherlock Holmes, Happy Go Lucky) faked his own death to claim life insurance and avoid bankruptcy is written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang.
Commented Chris Lang:
“I am beyond delighted to be working with two of the finest actors of their generation. 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 drama will focus on how Anne Darwin, played by BAFTA-winner Monica Dolan (Appropriate Adult, W1A, A Very English Scandal), became complicit in her husband’s deception as she started to convince the world, their family and friends, the police and insurance companies, that he had gone missing in 2002 whilst canoeing off the coast of Seaton Carew in Cleveland, where the couple owned two large houses with panoramic views of the sea.
The deception 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.
Devastated by the loss of their father, neither son had an inkling their parents were capable of such treachery. Anne and John Darwin 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 an infamous photo of them posing in a Panama real estate office in July 2006.
At her trial Anne Darwin pleaded not guilty, arguing that she had been coerced into the plot by her husband, but the jury didn’t believe her. She and her husband were both jailed for more than 6 years.
The four-part drama commences filming in the North East this month and is produced by Story Films, the company founded by three times BAFTA-winner David Nath (The Murder Detectives, My Name is Lizzie) 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 (The Hookup Plan, Dark Heart, A Mother’s Son) who also executive produces the four part series. BAFTA winning director, Richard Laxton, (Honour, Mrs Wilson, Mum) directs each of the four episodes.
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.
Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan will be joined in the cast by Mark Stanley (White House Farm) and Karl Pilkington (Sick of It, Derek).
Commented Eddie Marsan:
“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.”
Commented Monica Dolan:
“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.”
London based independent production company, Story Films, was created by David Nath and Peter Beard with the aim of producing creative, bold and thought-provoking programmes.
The drama has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Polly Hill and will be produced in association with All3Media International.
All3Media International represents the show internationally.
Eddie Marsan is represented by Markham, Froggatt & Irwin and UTA. Monica Dolan is represented by Will Hollinshead at Independent Talent.Read More »
“ITV would like to thank Nicola Walker for playing the brilliant role of Cassie Stuart in four series of Unforgotten which has become one of the best loved and most critically acclaimed police dramas on TV. Nicola and writer Chris Lang decided that Cassie’s story would come to an end last night, but that Unforgotten would continue, in series 5, with a new case, and a new ‘Partner in Crime’ for DI Sunny Khan.
This fourth series has had a record breaking season posting its highest viewing figures. For episodes 1-5 the series has averaged 7.5 million viewers based on seven day consolidated data, which is up by 1.6m viewers and 26% on the last series. The audience for the launch episode stands at 9.5m viewers after 28 days, across all platforms and repeats, up from the overnight audience by a massive 4.4million viewers.”Read More »
from The Guardian
It took months to find ways to shoot productions safely. The plot twist? There will be a shortage of new shows – then a glut
Fresh drama gleams out from the 2021 TV schedules, and viewers, particularly those with access to streaming services, will not go short. But the truth is there will be fewer new shows overall this year: the introduction of Covid safety protocols in 2020 first halted and then slowed down the production of high-end drama.
And while film crews went back to the studios and out on location, many of these dramas will only be ready to air this autumn, when audiences can look forward to something of a bonanza after a drier summer.
“Drama will be thin on the ground at first, then there will be a massive glut, I suspect, as next year was due to be busy anyway,” said executive producer Petra Fried of Clerkenwell Films, which has three shows in development that are due to shoot in the next few months, including Cheaters, a short-form romantic comedy series.
A much-anticipated follow-up to the dramatisation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, a serialisation of her first book, Conversations with Friends, is one of those still en route to screens, but slightly delayed.
Similarly, the makers of Channel 4 drama Murder in the Car Park, Indefinite Films, have complained that the pandemic “made the process weeks longer than it could have been. We had to adapt but it was painful. The delays made it very complicated”.
Many writers and producers say they spent lockdown developing scripts at an intense rate not possible before. As a result, lots of dramas are queuing up to be made, in addition to those already in production when the virus struck.
For Chris Lang, creator of the popular ITV crime series Unforgotten, the past year has been both busy and nerve-wracking. He managed to get both the fourth season – and the second season of another show, Innocent – out filming. “Delays were not as bad as people feared in the end,” he said. “Pre-production and finding a crew was harder though, especially now it feels like everyone is back up and running.”
Lang and his team filmed Unforgotten and Innocent, which he writes with Matthew Arlidge, in September, as something of a leap of faith. “You had to make a commitment weeks in advance because you have to line up your crew and cast. So we were in the vanguard really.
A film set is one of the safest places to be. We all wear masks, rooms are sprayed and we’re tested all the time
Chris Lang, creator of Unforgotten
“We had already started Unforgotten before lockdown, so we restarted, and we were out in Ireland with Innocent. Line of Duty was also filming up in Northern Ireland, and we both felt we were doing it first. Ireland allowed filming to continue because they put it in a category with building construction.”
Lang had to rewrite, at speed, scenes that had initially involved a large cast. “There were other ways of doing it, I realised, and necessity is the mother of invention. So quite often, the compromises I made ended up working better.
“We had filmed 11 weeks of Unforgotten with Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar before we had to stop – and then we did four-and-half weeks in September, but I’d be surprised if you could tell the difference,” said Lang.
While some drama series were able to return to filming with the backing of a big broadcast or streaming network, small independent companies found themselves more exposed. “Everyone in drama now has an insurance story to tell. But in truth, a film set is one of the safest places to be. We all wear masks, rooms are sprayed and we are tested all the time,” said Lang.
Crews, Lang also found, adapted fast to new working rules: “There were a few slow days but after that it was fine. So there should be a lot around by the autumn. I don’t know of anything major that had been ‘green-lit’ that has been cancelled. They were just delayed.”
Petra Fried also feels that social distancing restrictions on set have served to focus the mind. “When we got started again, everyone was incredibly focused and glad to be working again. We found it actually made it more efficient,” she said. “It was just that we had to pause if someone tested positive, and we had three or four instances of that. Day to day. it was OK, although the stop-start nature made things more expensive.”
The biggest challenge now, said Fried, has been finding available film crew for the summer ahead. “Everything is going to be shooting in 2021. There’s lots of good stuff, developed with writers over a whole year, and now ready to go.”Read More »
Season Two of “Innocent” began filming in September 2020 at locations in the Lake District and Ireland, with a premiere date yet to be confirmed, but likely to be sometime in 2021.
The new series of Innocent will features new characters, new story and an “extremely twisty plot”, focussing on the plight of a schoolteacher played by Katherine Kelly.
When the finale of ITV thriller Innocent aired in May 2018, it seemed a second series was highly unlikely.
But May 2019, Chris Lang confirmed that the ITV drama had officially been re-commissioned, adding: “And now if you’ll excuse me, Matt Arlidge and I need to get writing!”
Delighted to tell you that #Innocent is returning. New characters, new story, should shoot early next year. And now if you’ll excuse me, @mjarlidge and I need to get writing! #Innocent2 pic.twitter.com/nLbsTHrSD2
— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangWriter) May 2, 2019
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Television drama writer and producer Chris Lang shares the out-takes and bits of writing he keeps in his bottom drawer with host Laura Shavin
Check out the Offcuts website here.Read More »
BAFTA nominated actors Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar reprise their roles as DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan as production begins on the highly-anticipated fourth series of critically acclaimed drama, Unforgotten.
Produced by independent production company Mainstreet Pictures in partnership with Masterpiece, and devised and written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang (Innocent, Dark Heart), the new six-part series charts a fresh investigation into another emotionally-charged cold case murder.
The fourth series opens with the discovery of a dismembered body in a scrap metal yard, which the team believe has been stored in a domestic freezer for thirty years. A unique Millwall Football Club tattoo leads to the victim being identified as Matthew Walsh, a young man in his mid-twenties who went missing in March 1990.
The team quickly track the purchase of the freezer to Robert Fogerty, but they are disappointed to learn he’s recently died a lonely, broken man. On looking further into his past, they discover a drink driving conviction on the same night their victim, Matthew Walsh, went missing, and intriguingly there were four passengers in the car with him at the time.
The main cast will be joined by Sheila Hancock (New Tricks, Delicious), Susan Lynch (Killing Eve, Apple Tree Yard), Phaldut Sharma (Hanna, EastEnders), Liz White (Life On Mars, Ackley Bridge), Andy Nyman (Wanderlust, Peaky Blinders), Clare Calbraith (Baptiste, Little Boy Blue) and Lucy Speed (Marcella, National Treasure), along with returning actors Peter Egan (Downton Abbey, Hold The Sunset), Alastair Mackenzie (Deep Water, Cold Feet), Carolina Main (Blood, Grantchester), Lewis Reeves (Uncle, Inspector George Gently) and Jordan Long (Prime Suspect 1973, SS-GB).Read More »