ITV has given the green-light to Dark Angel, a two-part drama which is based on the true story of Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) is attached to star, with production set to commence in August in North Yorkshire and County Durham.
Dark Angel follows Mary Ann Cotton (Froggatt) who is a very female 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 of a woman capable of such terrible crimes. Travelling around the North East, she insinuates herself into unsuspecting families, marrying and creating new families of her own – before killing them, taking their money and moving on.
“Dark Angel is an extraordinary and chilling true story,” said ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea, who commissioned the two-parter alongside Director of Drama Steve November. “We’re delighted to have an actress of Joanne Froggatt’s calibre in the lead role. The combination of a tautly written script, an outstanding cast and great producers in World Productions make this a really exciting addition to the ITV drama slate.”
The two-part drama is based on the book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer by David Wilson and is being penned by The Girl scribe Gwyneth Hughes. World Productions are producing, with the indie’s creative director Simon Heath and Kirstie Macdonald executive producing, while Jake Lushington is set to produce. Downton Abbey helmer Brian Percival will direct. Dark Angel is receiving funding from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.
This marks the latest collaboration between ITV and World Productions. The commercial broadcaster previously commissioned the Line Of Duty indie to produce two-part factual drama Code Of A Killer, which starred John Simm (Prey) & David Threlfall (Shameless) and told the true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective David Baker.