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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Widower


Starring: Reece Shearsmith, Kate Fleetwood, Archie Panjabi and John Hannah
Distributor: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 07 April 2014

When his wife Claire becomes suspicious about unpaid bills and credit card debts, Malcolm Webster, at the time working as a nurse, poisons her and deliberately crashes their car, setting it on fire and leaving her inside. Three years later he marries Felicity Drumm in New Zealand and soon after begins plotting her murder in order to receive money from forged life insurance policies. His plan fails, however, and with Felicity now aware of Webster's true nature, he leaves the country and moves onto a potential third victim, Simone Banarjee. Will investigating Detective Inspector Charlie Henry catch Webster before it's too late...?

The Widower was a three-part ITV drama that was originally broadcast between 17 and 31 March 2014. It 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.

Reece Shearsmith (most famous for being a member of The League of Gentlemen) plays Webster. What's interesting about his portrayal is that Shearsmith doesn't take the easy option and play him as an obvious oddball. At times he can be charming and when things go wrong you can almost relate to his situation and see how a normal man could easily cross the line into insanity. However, as he gets deeper into the mess he makes for himself his madness shines through.

Who hasn't told a little white lie to impress someone? Or stage bumping into someone they want to spend a little more time with? But to pretend to have leukaemia and shave all your hair off to worm your way into someone's affections is maybe going just a tad to far.

Some of the plot has obviously been manipulated for dramatic effect. I'm not convinced that his second wife's life was saved because she just happened to find out that morning that she was pregnant... and then saved again a second time because her father had worked out that Webster was up to no good the very second that he drove off with the intention of killing her. But there's no arguing with the fact that it makes for intense viewing. It's an interesting drama series that hooks you in from the first episode. Yes, you already know how it's all going to end, but it's the execution of the plot that's important here.

The DVD comes with no extras.


Darren Rea

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