Dark Angel Comes to Masterpiece this Sunday
Joanne Froggatt, who stole the hearts of millions of viewers as Anna, the loving and resilient lady’s maid on Downton Abbey, stars in a totally different role in a spine-tingling drama about Mary Ann Cotton, Britain’s first female serial killer, which airs Sunday, May 21, on CET and ThinkTV16.
Directed by Emmy® award-winner Brian Percival (Downton Abbey), written by Golden Globe® nominee Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl) and inspired by the book Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer by noted criminologist David Wilson, Dark Angel dramatizes the events that drew a troubled woman ever deeper into a career of casual murder, while her loved ones and friends, who were also her victims, never suspected a thing.
A Golden Globe®-winner and three-time Emmy® nominee for her Downton Abbey performance, Froggatt is joined by an exceptional cast, including Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit, Bleak House) as Mary Ann’s stepfather, Mr. Stott; Thomas Howes (Downton Abbey) as her husband number two, George; Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood) as her longtime lover, Joe; Sam Hoare (Jane Eyre) as husband number three, James; Laura Morgan (The Hollow Crown) as her best friend, Maggie; plus additional actors playing other husbands, her many children, and the few citizens who suspect that something is not quite right about Mary Ann.
Born in North East England in 1832, a child of the coal fields, Mary Ann Cotton grew up in poverty with the dream of escaping the hard life of a miner’s family – and she almost did – armed with her good looks, charm and arsenic. For authorities, the problem was that arsenic poisoning, if done skillfully, mimicked the symptoms of two of the major public health scourges of the day: typhoid fever and cholera. And although Mary Ann took out modest insurance policies on her victims whenever possible, she kept moving and was charming and confident, which made her even harder to catch. Although her body count can never be certain; the current best estimate is at least thirteen, ranking her far above her Victorian male counterpart, Jack the Ripper.