THE creator of the popular TV drama about "canoe man" John Darwin has defended the North East accents used after viewers branded them “insulting”.

The pair playing John Darwin and his wife Anne have come under fire from viewers for their “geordie” accents, despite the story taking place on Teesside.

Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan, from Middlesbrough, are playing the pair for the ITV drama The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe, which started on Sunday night. 

Yet Teessiders watching the show have said the pair’s accents sound nothing like the pair do in real life.

The four-part series was filmed around Hartlepool, Seaton Carew and Middlesbrough last year.

“Why is it that ITV thinks people from Teesside speak with a geordie accent?” said one shocked viewer. “Insulting!!!!”

The Northern Echo:

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But despite the criticism, some locals have defended show writer Chris Lang and the choice of accents.

The writer pointed out the couple had moved to Seaton Carew in 2002.

He said: "It's lovely people are so passionate about their own accents!

“John & Anne of course weren't from Seaton Carew, they only moved there in 2002. They were both born near Blackhall & over the next five decades lived and worked in (to name a few) Newcastle, Chester Le Street & Durham."

One Twitter user agreed, saying: “I wish people would Bore Off with the accent craic. They weren’t from Hartlepool they were from Blackhall and didn’t have Hartlepool accents.”

And another said: “I’m from the NE and the accents don’t bother me one bit. They are acting with a NE dialect. There are so many variations out there, when you go north and south of the area, with all the little villages in between. I think the programme is a job well done! Great acting all round.”

“The thing about NE accents is they change about 10 times in a 20-mile radius,” one local viewer said. “I sound different to someone from six miles up the road. They’re so nuanced.

The Northern Echo: This infamous photo of the pair in Panama was recreated in the ITV showThis infamous photo of the pair in Panama was recreated in the ITV show

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The accent debate has predominantly been taken up by North East viewers with a knowledge of local dialect.

Twitter user Mad Mackem, from Sunderland, said: “If they were from Blackhall they’d have had pitmatic accent. Thoo, thow, thy, and the knaws, every village, town and hamlet has a different accent up here. My wife and I are from the same city but have slightly different accents from each other, she’s from north of the river.”


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