The story of alleged North East serial killer Mary Ann Cotton is to be told as part of a BBC true crime podcast.
TV historian Lucy Worsley will explore 10 of the most shocking violent crimes of the Victorian era in the series Lady Killers, which will air on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
The program will see Ms Worsley joined by a team of female historians, lawyers, journalists and psychologists to investigate the crimes of Victorian women from a contemporary feminist perspective. They will tell why the killers did it and what the crimes reveal about the role of women in the 19th century.
Read more: Our friends from the North transformed into a radio series
Among the 10 stories will be one of Britain’s most notorious killers: Mary Ann Cotton, a woman from County Durham who allegedly murdered three of her husbands and numerous children and stepchildren.
Worsley will also examine the case of Amelia Dyer, who allegedly killed hundreds of babies and children in her care by desperate mothers, and the US trial of Lizzie Borden, which saw women fill the courtroom for witness the proceedings while she was acquitted. ax murders of his father and stepmother. Each episode will see Worsley examine the crime, how it was received back then, and how it compares to what’s happening today.
She said: “A lot of true crime podcasts like to titillate and condemn – what I set out to do is understand these women who killed. The historical records of their crimes give us a keyhole through which to examine some fascinating Victorian lives, none of which were easy. I also loved working with my fabulous all-female team of modern detectives.
Rhian Roberts, Editor of Radio 4, said: “These dark stories come to life through the way Lucy and the team investigate. When you hear the court testimony and the letters these women wrote, it sends shivers down your spine and these Victorian black and white images come to life. Lucy has found a new way to ask the question “thriller?”
The series will be available as a box set only on BBC Sounds from April 25, and it will air every Wednesday at 11.30am from April 27 on BBC Radio 4.