The Widower is a three-part drama from ITV Studios based on the crimes of convicted murderer, Malcolm Webster, played by Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville, The League of Gentlemen, A Field in England).
The Widower tells how, over a 13 year period Malcolm Webster set about poisoning and murdering his first wife, attempting to do the same to his second wife and moving on to a further scheme to deceive his third fiancée.
When Malcolm Webster (Reece Shearsmith) comes under pressure from new wife Claire (Sheridan Smith) over his mounting debts, he begins systematically drugging her to keep her under control. When she books a doctor’s appointment to run tests, Malcolm takes matters into his own hands by staging a car accident in which she is killed.
After escaping justice and cashing in on a £200,000 life insurance policy, he relocates to New Zealand and is soon walking down the aisle with new bride, Felicity Drumm (Kate Fleetwood). He moves her back to Scotland, and while Felicity is busy organising their finances for a new house to raise a family, Malcolm is trying to gain access to her savings to hide the fact that he is broke again. He plies her with sedatives, as he did with Claire, but stops short of killing her when he discovers she is pregnant.
The birth of their son brings a temporary reprieve to the drugging, but when Felicity turns up the heat for him to account for his finances, Malcolm returns to his old ways. However, Felicity is spirited and refuses to give up on her dream home.
When Malcolm exhausts his excuses, he decides to deal with the problem once and for all. But will he succeed?
Speaking The Widower Reece Shearsmith says:
“It was a really big part for me, and a real challenge…although it was really exciting to read the script, it was also quite scary – I thought, ‘God, do I really want to be in that world?’ It’s a horrible thing to take on. But I couldn’t not try.
“With The Widower I felt I needed to capture the spirit of Malcolm Webster – I’m not trying to do an impression of him. I also felt a responsibility because he is a convicted murderer and people were profoundly affected by his actions. There’s a duty of care that he is not presented frivolously.”
The Widower is produced by Kwadjo Dajan (Mrs Biggs, Appropriate Adult as Co-Producer), executive produced by Jeff Pope and directed by Paul Whittington (Mrs Biggs, Vera) for ITV Studios. The series is co-written by Jeff Pope and James Barton.