This was a two-part drama on ITV about the Victorian serial killer, Mary Anne Cotton. Starring Joanna Froggatt.
I didn’t really know this had been broadcast but it looked like it was worth watching. I have always had a weird interest in serial killers. Not a desire to replicate their deeds, but just the realization that something drove them to do what they did.
This drama portrays Mary Anne Cotton as a woman living in dire poverty who is frustrated with the drudgery of her life. A trip to the pharmacy to buy arsenic to get rid of bed bugs sparks off a chain of awful death which culminates in her later execution. Nobody is safe from her teapot of doom, and soon she does away with a cotillion of husbands and children. Only one husband manages to escape her clutches, luckily, and he cowers in the shadows as the last grisly chapters of Cotton’s life play out.
Joseph Nattrass (Jonas Armstrong) is the romantic interest for Mary Cotton and they bond over arsenic (oh, how romantic) all the while meeting up to occasionally to bump uglies. The drama follows her as a young bereaved wife full of hope to a cold-hearted murderess.
I’m not saying its anything spectacular, but its good seeing Froggatt in something which isn’t related to Downton Abbey. What I didn’t appreciate was how they made this more of a feminist text, trying to make us feel sorry for Mary as she battles poverty, destitution and husbands. No matter what, she consciously committed the murders for monetary gain.
This film has certainly taught me to avoid kindly Northern women with teapots.
MY RATING: ***.5 / *****