Entertainment & Arts

Malcolm Webster crimes become ITV drama

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Image caption League of Gentlemen star Shearsmith will play Webster in the three-parter

Psychoville star Reece Shearsmith is to portray convicted murderer Malcolm Webster in a forthcoming drama for ITV.

The Widower will follow Webster over a 13-year period during which he murdered his first wife and attempted to kill his second wife before fleeing.

His wife Claire, who he poisoned then killed in a staged car crash, will be played by Sheridan Smith. The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi also stars.

The drama will be written by Mrs Biggs and Lucan screenwriter Jeff Pope.

"This is a quite extraordinary story, far more chilling than any fiction," said Pope, who co-wrote hit film Philomena with Steve Coogan.

"Webster was a banal, almost benign face of evil. He was so clever at hiding his tracks and presenting a plausible front to his friends, family and colleagues that he was able to do what he did without really attracting suspicion.

"The courage and tenacity of Webster's second wife Felicity, and his last intended victim Simone, is all that stood between him and potentially more murders."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Smith will play Webster's first wife Claire, who was killed eight months after they wed

Malcolm Webster, 54, originally from Surrey, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 2011 for murdering Claire Morris in Aberdeenshire in 1994.

He was also convicted of staging a similar attempt to murder his second wife, Felicity Drumm, in New Zealand.

The couple, who married in 1997, were involved in a suspect car crash in 1999.

Webster disappeared and reappeared four years later, in Scotland, where he began a relationship with nurse Simone Banerjee, played by Panjabi.

Waking the Dead's Kate Fleetwood will play second wife Drumm, while John Hannah will play Detective Inspector Charlie Henry, who investigated the case and will act as police advisor on the production. Drumm and Banerjee will act as consultants.

"The combination of tautly written scripts and a fantastic cast makes this a really exciting addition to our 2014 drama slate," said ITV's director of drama commissioning Steve November.

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