TV & Movies

Got it so wrong The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe slated over inaccurate accents

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe: ITV shares first look at series

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The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe is airing over four nights on ITV and the TV series is based on real events. John Darwin (played by Eddie Marsan) and his wife Anne (Monica Dolan) were jailed after wrongfully claiming John’s life insurance. Viewers took to Twitter to declare how the couple’s Hartlepool accents were “so wrong”.

The series opened with Anne Darwin narrating, and she told viewers how they came to move to the seaside village of Seaton Carew.

She recalled how her husband was keen to take up new business opportunities, including renting out apartments.

The couple had taken on huge amounts of debt through the venture, and they had no way of paying it off.

Anne warned John he would need to declare bankruptcy, but he had other ideas.

While some viewers recalled the extraordinary true story from 2002, others were distracted by the characters’ accents.

Lucy Wrigley said on Twitter: “No one in Hartlepool talks like this… b****y hell. WE ARE NOT GEORDIES IN TEESSIDE #ITV #thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe.” [Sic]

Chris C added: “Can’t believe @ITV got it so wrong with the accents on #thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe They weren’t from b****y Newcastle!”

Angelak said: “Here we go – Geordie accents because somehow people in Hartlepool have Geordie accents #thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe.”

Geoff shared: “Getting the disclaimer in first to cover the blatant inaccuracies #thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe.”

However, there were other viewers who were eager to find out more about the case.

Sharon Cook shared: “#thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe no way is that a Hartlepool accent, but it looks like it’s going to be good show.”

Ellen cross commented: “I know there’s already been one dramatisation about it a few years back but I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of Canoe Man #canoeman am so excited for #TheThiefHisWifeAndTheCanoe.”

The first episode saw John carrying out the first stage of his plan, convincing the world he had died.

He staged his disappearance out at sea, before getting his wife to call the police and report him missing.

The real John Darwin had been hiding until it was safe to return home.

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He was then able to stay in the house next door to Anne, while she claimed his life insurance.

While viewers like Paul Wright said “you’d have thought they’d have done some research into the accents”, the actors were dedicated to staying in character.

Stars Dolan and Marsan revealed they kept their accents when the cameras were not rolling.

Marsan joked: “I don’t know what Monica sounds like when she’s not Anne.

“We wanted to sound like a married couple, so we only spoke to each other in a Hartlepool accent.”

While many fans were interested in John and Anne’s relationship in the series, others could not get past the accents.

Sam defended the show, saying: “The rest of us not obsessed with accents are just enjoying the drama….. #thethiefhiswifeandthecanoe”

The story will continue across four episodes, coming to a conclusion on Wednesday.

The real-life couple spent more than six years in prison after staging John’s death and escaping to Panama to start a new life.

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe continues on ITV at 9pm on Monday.

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