The Thief, His Wife, and the Canoe writer offers explanation after Northern accents mocked for being ‘inaccurate’

The writer of The Thief, His Wife, and the Canoe has defended the characters’ accents after viewers called them “inaccurate” and “insulting”.

The ITV series is an adaptation of the real-life story of John and Anne Darwin – played by Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan, respectively. The Hartlepool couple made headlines in the 2000s after John faked his death in a canoeing accident in order to avoid declaring bankruptcy.

The series, which is currently airing on ITV, has received generally favourable reviews from viewers.

Many people, however, criticised the characters’ north-eastern accents.

One person wrote on Twitter: “Why is it that ITV think people from Teesside speak with a Geordie accent. This happened in Hartlepool and we DO NOT have that accent!!!! Insulting!!!!”

“As a Hartlepudlian and Headlander, I can’t cope with the geography and accent inaccuracies,” wrote another.

Someone else wrote: “Catching up on last nights episode and struggling to cope with John Darwin’s accent, it’s so bad.”

Responding to the criticism, series writer Chris Lang wrote on Twitter: “It’s lovely people are so passionate about their own accents! John & Anne of course weren’t from Seaton Crew, they only moved there in 2002.

“They were both near Blackhall & over the next five decades lived and worked in (to name a few) Newcastle, Chester Le Street & Durham.”

You can read The Independent’s three-star review of the drama here.