VIEWERS were left in a state of surprise as the third episode of ITV's drama on infamous "canoe man" John Darwin aired last night.

Those tuned in to the latest installment of The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe on ITV were shown how John Darwin's brazen scam was starting to unravel.

Eddie Marsan, who plays Darwin and Monica Dolan, who plays his now ex-wife Anne, were seen as the law finally caught up with their shocking plan.

Read more: Seaton Carew hotel is scrapping 'canoe man' branding after ITV John Darwin drama

However, viewers could not believe it as one familiar comedian made a surprise appearance as he played detective in a scene with the now-alive, Darwin.

Karl Pilkington, who is best known for his appearance in Sky's hit series An Idiot Abroad, could be seen playing DC Phil Bayley.

As the programme aired, social media lit up with reaction from confused, but oddly delighted viewers.

Steve Oliver said: "On episode three of that canoe thing and Karl Pilkington turns up. Was not expecting that."

The Northern Echo: John Darwin in real life Picture: PA John Darwin in real life Picture: PA

David Potts said: "Hows @KarlPilkington just rocked up in the radge canoe guy programme playing a hard faced busy. Don’t think I’ve laughed at a show so much in a long time. Surreal."

Read more: John and Anne Darwin's relationship with their kids after ITV canoe drama

Meanwhile, others who said they were struggling to take the show "seriously" said Pilkington's appearance did not help.

Lydia W said: "Already couldn’t take the man his wife and the canoe seriously and now Karl Pilkington is doing the interrogating. I just cannot."

But some were more supportive of the budding actor, praising him for his scene and describing him as talented.

Read more: How to watch ITV's John Darwin 'canoe man' drama before anyone else

Alistair Munro said: "Who knew that @KarlPilkington is actually a superb actor? I mean genuinely a convincing skilled actor? Brilliant in Theif/Wife/Canoe."

In the scene, Pilkington quizzes Darwin on his mystery arrival back to the UK and presents him with damning evidence - the infamous photo taken in Panama. 

ITV viewers have one more episode left of the series which airs at 9pm on ITV tonight, but viewers online can watch the whole series on the ITV Hub here.


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