Filming of new John Darwin ITV drama starring Eddie Marsan begins in Hartlepool

Cameras have begun rolling in Seaton Carew on a new television drama about canoe conman John Darwin.

Renowned actor Eddie Marsan is playing John Darwin, who infamously faked his own death in his canoe in 2002 so his wife Anne could collect thousands in life insurance and start a new life together in Panama.

Marsan was in Seaton on Monday as location filming for a new four-part ITV drama called The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe got underway.

BAFTA-winning actress Monica Dolan, who is playing Anne Darwin, also filmed scenes at the bus station on The Front.

Eddie Marsan, far right, plays canoe conman John Darwin in a new production being filmed at Seaton Carew.

Marsan, 52, who has appeared in TV shows including Ray Donovan and movies such as The World’s End, said: “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.”

Just feet away from filming, visitors to Seaton Carew continued to eat their fish and chips and ice creams.

John Garbutt, 72, of Hartlepool, was among those watching the filming.

Anne and John Darwin were both jailed for fraud after conspiring to fake his death in 2002 as part of an insurance scam.

He said: “I just came down for a couple of hours and to see if I could find out who is playing John Darwin.

"I was here when it happened and it’s an interesting story.

"I will definitely watch it when it is on television.”

Filming also centred around Ernie Nichols Amusements, on The Front, where a prop phone box was placed outside.

The film crew recording the new John Darwin drama taking place at Seaton Carew. Picture by FRANK REID

Zara Bowman, manageress of Supreme Ice Cream opposite, said: “I think it will promote Seaton again. I’m looking forward to watching it.

"We do a ‘Seaton Canoe’ ice cream and with all this happening I’m going to do a new sign promoting them.”

The story following John Darwin’s reappearance after five years claiming amnesia made headlines around the world.

Both he and Anne were jailed for more than six years in 2008 after John admitted fraud offences and Anne was convicted after a crown court trial.

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe is written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang and is produced by award-winning Story Films.

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