The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe

The four-part drama, written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang tells the true story of how  Anne Darwin’s husband, a prison officer, came up with the hare-brained scheme to defraud insurance companies, unbeknownst to their two sons.The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, will be produced by Story Films, the company founded by three times BAFTA-winning director, 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.

The screenwriter of Unforgotten and Innocent, Chris Lang (The Hookup Plan, Dark Heart, A Mother’s Son), who  is joined by BAFTA-winning director, Richard Laxton, (Honour, Mrs Wilson, Mum). The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe is based upon the unpublished manuscript written by journalist David Leigh. David was the first journalist to find and interview Anne in Panama.

The drama was commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Polly Hill and  produced in association with All3Media International.

Commented Polly Hill:

“This is an extraordinary story of deception within a very ordinary family. Chris has written brilliant scripts about the heart breaking cost of this elaborate lie. I am so pleased to be working with Richard Laxton again and with Dave Nath and Story Films first drama for ITV.”

The drama will focus on how Anne Darwin became complicit in her husband’s deception as she needed 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.

Mortgaged to the hilt, Darwin had also run up debts of 64K on 13 credit cards and his excessive spending had seen their finances spiral out of control. Anne would have preferred her husband go bankrupt, but she eventually went along with his absurd scheme to fake his own death.