“Sing? Sing? What song should I sing? Mary Ann Cotton is tied up in string”
ITV’s Dark Angel based on the extraordinary true story of the Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton, played by Golden Globe winner and Emmy award nominee Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), premiered on Monday 31st October at 9pm. The new chilling two-part drama, from Line of Duty makers World Productions filmed in Yorkshire and County Durham, with investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt stars as serial killer Mary Ann, a loving wife and mother, newly returned to her native North East of England. But faced with abject poverty and an ailing husband, we see how ruthlessly determined she is to pursue her desires – and a better life …
Mary Ann is a serial killer, a poisoner whose methods leave no visible scars, allowing her tally of victims to mount unsuspected by a Victorian society unable to conceive a woman capable of such terrible crimes. Travelling around the North East, she inveigles herself into the homes of unsuspecting families, marrying and creating new families of her own – before killing them, taking their money and moving on.
Through adultery, bigamy, fraud and murder, Mary Ann betters herself socially and financially. But the more she kills, the greater the risk her heinous crimes will finally be exposed …
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).
Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire said: ‘’We are delighted to be working in partnership with World Productions again, particularly on a project that shines the spotlight on the remarkable Yorkshire talents of writer Gwyneth Hughes and actress Joanne Froggatt. It’s been an outstanding autumn for regional drama, with both ‘National Treasure’ and ‘Victoria’ achieving the highest ratings of the year to date for Channel 4 and ITV respectively; we’re confident that ‘Dark Angel’ will further cement Yorkshire’s reputation as one of the most important production hubs in the UK.’’
Dark Angel filmed in Yorkshire and County Durham, with investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund. Filming locations included York (Castlegate House, Rowntree Park, Clementhorpe, Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate) Saltburn-By-Sea (beach front, The Ship Inn) and Hull (South Dalton Estate). Creative England provided crew and locations support for the production.
Actress Joanne Froggatt, who is from Whitby in Yorkshire says:
“It’s been lovely to film here. Although Downton Abbey was set in Yorkshire it was filmed down south at Highclere Castle and Ealing Studios. We’ve been based in York a lot of the time and I’d forgotten how beautiful it is. We also had a couple of days at Saltburn, which is very close to home. So I got to stay with my parents for a few nights. And then filming at Beamish Museum in County Durham was good.”
Producer Jake Lushington said:“It’s an amazing story about British history and probably one of the most infamous people within it that very few people know about these days.
“Unlike the endlessly told stories of Jack the Ripper. Mary Ann Cotton is an extraordinary character, an extraordinary part of our social history as well as somebody who did something quite unthinkable, both at the time and now.”
Dark Angel is written by Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl, Five Days) and directed by Emmy and BAFTA award-winner Brian Percival (Downton Abbey).
The drama is produced by Jake Lushington (The Bletchley Circle,The Devil’s Whore) and executive produced by Kirstie Macdonald(The Fear) and Simon Heath (Code of a Killer, Line of Duty) on behalf of World Productions.
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.