Reece Shearsmith and Sheridan Smith to star in ITV factual drama

Sheridan Smith, pictured here in Hedda Gabler. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Reece Shearsmith and Sheridan Smith are to star in a three-part ITV drama called The Widower, which is based on the crimes of convicted murderer Malcolm Webster.

The Widower has been co-written and executive produced by Jeff Pope, who penned Mrs Biggs and Lucan. It is being made by ITV Studios, where Pope is head of factual drama.

According to ITV, The Widower reveals how, over a 13-year period, “a seemingly mild-mannered male nurse, 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 fiancee”.

Shearsmith plas Webster, while Smith takes the role of first wife Claire Morris.

Pope said: “This is a quite extraordinary story, far more chilling than any fiction. Webster was a banal, almost benign face of evil. He was so clever at hiding his tracks and presenting a plausible front to his friends, family and colleagues that he was able to do what he did without really attracting suspicion. The courage and tenacity of Webster’s second wife Felicity, and his last intended victim Simone, is all that stood between him and potentially more murders.”

The Widower is being produced by Kwadjo Dajan and is executive produced by Pope. It is directed by Paul Whittington for ITV Studios and has been co-written by James Barton.

It was commissioned by ITV’s director of drama commissioning Steve November.