Serial killer Mary Ann Cotton revived by Joanne Froggatt
A two-part ITV drama, Dark Angel, will tell the chilling tale of the Victorian murderer from County Durham who was convicted for killing three of her four husbands, apparently in order to collect on their insurance policies.
Using arsenic to poison her victims, she may have killed as many as 21 people, including eleven of her thirteen children.
The cold and calculating character is being portayed by the Downton Abbey star, from Littlebeck in North Yorkshire, who was seen (pictured above) filming scenes this summer on Saltburn beach.
The mini-series made by Line of Duty’s World Productions, begins showing Mary Ann Cotton as a loving wife and mother, newly returned to her native North East of England from Dorset.
But faced with abject poverty and an ailing husband, the audience will be shown how ruthlessly determined she is to pursue her desires – and a better life.
Through adultery, bigamy, fraud and murder, Mary Ann betters herself socially and financially. But the more she kills, the greater the risk her crimes will finally be exposed and she was finally hanged at Durham Jail aged 40 on March 24 ,1873.
Controller of ITV Drama Victoria Fea, said: “Dark Angel is an extraordinary and chilling true story and we’re delighted to have an actress of Joanne Froggatt’s calibre in the lead role.”Dark Angel is written by Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl, Five Days) and will be directed by Emmy and BAFTA award-winner Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).
The drama is inspired by the book “Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer” by David Wilson, which is published by Waterside Press.
The former prison governor who is Professor of Criminology Birmingham City University explains in his novel that out of the region she is largely unknown despite being not just the first but perhaps the UK’s most prolific female serial killer, with more victims than Myra Hindley, Rosemary West and Beverly Allit.