TV UK TV

Canoe Man (BBC-4 2010 with Bernard Hill and Saskia Reeves)

UK / BBC Four / 1×59 minute episode / Broadcast 31 March 2010 @ 9.00pm

Writer and Director: Norman Hull / Producer: Flavia Taylor

Drama documentary Canoe Man is based on the real life story of John Darwin who in the early 2000’s faked his death, Reggie Perrin, style by disappearing whilst out on his canoe at sea. For five years his wife Anne played the grieving widow whilst all the time John was still alive and spent the time living in his old house but using a hidden doorway into the house next door (which was divided into bedsits and was also owned by the Darwins) to escape if any one came to visit. Huge debts had prompted the disappearance and the couple were able to utilise the life insurance policy which they had taken out not long before John went missing.

After five years of major beard growing the pressure got too much for Darwin and he handed himself in to police claiming to have amnesia however it wasn’t long before the real story of his disappearance came out. It seems a move to Cuba was on the cards after the Darwins bought an apartment in Panama but neither of them wanted to really leave the UK.

This is a great piece of “from the headlines” television, it’s hour long running time means it gets right to the heart of things, mainly using the perspective of Anne (played in great look-a-like style by Saskia Reeves) as she tries to juggle all the various lies she has told.

cast
BERNARD HILL as John Darwin
SASKIA REEVES as Anne Darwin
JEREMY LEGAT as Anthony Darwin
PHILIP CORREIA as Mark Darwin
PETER CELLIER as Judge
MARY ROSCOE as Solicitor
PHILIP McGOUGH as Journalist
CARL PROCTOR as Carl Proctor
EMILIA DOBIE as Receptionist
PEPE BALDERRAMA as Carlos
KATE AMBLER as Flick
JEREMY SWIFT as DS Twist
BILL THOMAS as Farmer





Other posts featuring the following