Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin for BBC1 adaptation of Apple Tree Yard


appletree30.12.13Released in 2013, Louise Doughty’s seventh novel, Apple Tree Yard, became one of the biggest selling of the year. It told the story of a middle-aged woman in the dock, accused of murder. Why was this respectable, married mother there? Did she really do what she was accused of? All meaty things explored in the book. Now it’s being adapted for the BBC by Amanda Coe.

Married with two grown-up children, geneticist Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) lives a contented, conventional suburban life. But her world spirals into chaos, when a chance encounter leads to an impulsive and passionate affair with a charismatic stranger (Ben Chaplin).

Despite all her careful plans to keep her home life and career safe and separate from her affair, fantasy and reality soon begin to overlap and everything she values is put at risk, as a life-changing act of violence leads to a Crown Court trial.

Yvonne’s downward trajectory is searingly realised; hers is a life ripped apart as the consequence of one, single, spur-of-the-moment decision. And this is the genius of Apple Tree Yard – one minute we’re right behind Yvonne and the next we’re not.

Emily Watson says: “I am both relishing and daunted by the prospect of taking on this role; it’s grown up, steamy and of queasy moral complexity.”

The cast also includes Mark Bonnar, Adeel Akhtar, Lydia Leonard, Frances Tomelty and Rhashan Stone. The four-part series starts filming at the end of this month and it’s likely that it’ll be out later this year.


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