'The Widower', ITV's latest true life crime drama, tells the story of Malcolm Webster, a pretty ordinary-looking male nurse, amongst other occupations, and how he managed - almost - to kill off two unsuspecting wives for bag loads of cash and a quiet life.
As viewers will remember from recent headlines, the first time around in 1994, Webster got away with it, drugging his wife Claire (Sheridan Smith) for having the temerity to ask him about his bank balance, and then, when it looked like he was going to get busted, leaving her to a rotten end in a burning car.
Reece Shearsmith and Sheridan Smith star in 'The Widower'
The story picked up in 1999, with Malcolm 'happily' married again - this time to a robust Kiwi, Felicity, equally, inexplicably drawn to the dubious charms of charisma-free Malcolm.
'League of Gentlemen' favourite Reece Shearsmith was suitably creepy in the lead role in Jeff Pope's economically written tale. As Webster criss-crossed between Scotland and New Zealand in his pursuit of the perfect middle-class life - at least, until his wife started sniffing the unpleasant aroma of a man fibbing about his finances - what stood out was the sheer normality of it all.
Somehow, Malcolm Webster almost got away with it a second time
Malcolm and Felicity were just another young couple, buying a nice house, bringing up baby, all bog standard stuff, apart from when he was lacing her shepherds pie with deadly potions, and inviting her to "admire the view, darling, from this perilously high cliff". Over-dramatic stuff, you'd think, except it all actually happened, with the grisly details still being raked over in the Scottish courtrooms today.
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