Serial killer Mary Ann Cotton revived by Joanne Froggatt

NORTH-East serial killer Mary Ann Cotton who was hanged for her crimes is being brought back to life early next year by celebrated local actress 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.

KILLER: Mary Ann Cotton from County Durham who lived from 1832 to 1873.

KILLER: Mary Ann Cotton from County Durham who lived from 1832 to 1873.

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.”

 CHARACTER: Joanne Froggatt from Littlebeck in North Yorkshire is starring ITV drama Dark Angel. ITV commenced filming today (24 August) on the two-part drama, Dark Angel, based on the extraordinary true story of the Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton, played by Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt. Joanne is pictured here during the first day on set. Dark Angel also features Alun Armstrong (New Tricks, Penny Dreadful), Jonas Armstrong (Edge of Tomorrow, Robin Hood), Laura Morgan (Torchwood, Suspicions of Mr Whicher), Sam Hoare (Life in Squares) Emma Fielding (Arthur & George, DCI Banks) and Penny Layden (Call the Midwife). This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website For further information please contact: / 0207 157 3052

CHARACTER: Joanne Froggatt from Littlebeck in North Yorkshire is starring ITV drama Dark Angel.

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.





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