The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe: Anne Darwin ‘will be happy when ITV drama is over’

Anne Darwin, the woman at the centre of ITV’s new drama The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, allegedly “can’t understand what the fuss is” over the story.

The convicted fraudster served more than six years in prison for helping her husband John fake his own death in 2002.

The Darwins were caught out after John turned up at a police station in 2007, claiming he had amnesia. When the story hit the papers, a Cheshire housewife found a photo online of the couple posing in an estate agent’s office in Panama in 2006 (the year before he reappeared).

In the ITV series dramatising these events, Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan play John and Anne Darwin. The drama shows how Anne lied to her own sons, allowing them to believe their father had died, and how she tried to claim his life insurance money.

On Tuesday’s episode of This Morning on ITV (19 April), David Leigh – a journalist who reported on the story at the time and who co-wrote the book Out Of My Depth with Anne about her life – said that Anne is “obviously not enjoying this very much”.

Leigh, who speaks to Anne regularly, said: “She often says to me, ‘I really can’t understand what all the fuss is about, why there is still this interest after all this time.’

“She lives a very quiet, anonymous existence. She obviously wishes this wasn’t happening, but she accepts she played a role in it and she understands to a degree the fascination from the British public.”

Marsan and Dolan as the Darwins (ITV)
Marsan and Dolan as the Darwins (ITV)

He said the story has been “running now for 15 years, and on it goes”, adding: “I think she’ll be happy when it’s over and she can just get on with her life and spend time with the boys.”

Leigh said he has “a lot of sympathy” for Anne and said he believes she was “coerced” by John into going along with his plan.

Find out what’s fact and what’s fiction in the ITV drama and where the Darwins are now.

Read The Independent’s interview with Dolan about playing Anne here, and our three-star review of the show here.

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe returns on Thursday 19 April at 9pm.