A Mild-Mannered Murderer

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Last week Line of Duty ended and I feared I would never be able to watch television again. Luckily, ITV have started their annual good piece of drama and this year, it’s The Widower.

This programme is about a man called Malcolm Webster who, as the title suggests, is a serial widower. He is a real person and the drama is based on real events. He comes across as a very gentle and affable man, very proper, a bit of a pushover. He certainly doesn’t like confrontation. The series opened with him marrying a lady called Claire (lovely Sheridan Smith in a horrible nineties wedding dress).


Unfortunately, he has a problem with spending, and when Claire finds out and tries to discuss it, Malcolm is unhappy. His solution is to drug her with tranquillizers, and he finds that he likes this. Soon, she doesn’t even need to be discussing anything for him to sedate her. Eventually she goes to the doctor, and that is when Malcolm has to take drastic steps. On to the next…

Fans of great television will know the lead actor, Reece Shearsmith, from such great things as Inside No. 9 and A League of Gentlemen. These are quite surreal things, and I think this is the first time I have seen him acting a straight part, so to speak. For me, he is a revelation. I always thought he was very good, but in this he is absolutely fantastic. He manages to look pathetic and non-threatening whilst being really creepy and frightening. There isn’t a shred of violence about him, yet he is so terrifying. The show moves quite quickly, and the lengths he goes to are increasingly bizarre. I’m only on episode two – the third and final one is on next Monday at 9pm. ITV. – and I don’t think there is anywhere else he can go, but I’m betting I’m wrong. He is utterly insane, I think, and that is part of what makes him so frightening. I am now struggling to look at a picture of Reece Shearsmith without shivering.

As always, I strongly recommend this programme. It also stars the super-duper Sheridan Smith (albeit briefly) and guess who popped up in the last episode? John Hannah, everyone’s favourite Scot. And Trevor from EastEnders, for a time Britain’s most hated psychopath. A stellar cast, clearly.

Watch it quickly please!

As a reward, here is Reece Shearsmith as a clown with a comb over. You’re welcome!

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