Twenty-seventeen kicked off with a tense four-part thriller on BBC1 in the UK, based on Louise Doughty’s best-selling psychological thriller, Apple Tree Yard. The BBC’s adaptation – co-written by Doughty and Amanda Coe – told the story of a scientist, Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson), who seemed to have it all. When she started a torrid, illicit affair with the mysterious Mark Costley (Ben Chaplin), things went pear-shaped very quickly. The ambiguous ending seemed to be the end of the tale, but Doughty has now said that she’s working on a sequel.
One thing you can say about Apple Tree Yard is that it has really put its central character – Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson, on excellent form) – through the mill. Not only has she gone against type and undertaken an illicit, lustful affair with a mystery man called Mark Costley, but she has been brutally raped, stalked and terrorised and now accused of the murder of her attacker. That’s quite a rabbit hole she has been plunged into. Tonight was the night we found out if she was guilty of the crime or not – and I was convinced that there were more twists to come.
We left illicit lovers Dr Yvonne Carmichael and Mark Costley at George Selway’s house. At the end of episode one, Selway had brutally attacked Yvonne and most of episode two dealt with the fall-out from that horrific event. By this time we were desperate to know what Costley had done to Selway after he entered the house, especially a final montage sequence suggested something very bad had happened. It didn’t take long to find out.
NB: Spoilers inside
Apologies for the lateness of this review, but, you know, real life. So Apple Tree Yard, then, so named after the little alleyway Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) and the mysterious Mark Costley (Ben Chaplin) engaged illicit hully gully in. Episode one followed the couple’s journey into dangerous, clandestine lust and sex, but then turned on its head in the traumatic final scene, when Yvonne was brutally raped by a work colleague.
Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard won great acclaim and sold in huge numbers when it was released as a novel in 2013. Now, thanks to Amanda Coe and Doughty herself, it has been adapted for television as a four-part series. The story belongs in the rebranded and recently ascendant ‘domestic noir’ genre – stories that tell of seemingly perfect, middle-class lives that are turned on their heads and go down a noirish rabbit hole, its protagonists suddenly plunged into situations and scenarios that they had no control over.
NB: Spoilers ahead
This weekend sees the start of a new, four-part psycho-sexual drama adapted from the best-selling Louise Doughty novel. Apple Tree Yard tells the story of Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson), who has a high-flying career, a beautiful home, and a loving family. But appearances can be deceptive, and when she’s approached by a charismatic stranger (Ben Chaplin), she soon finds herself taking risks that she had never dreamt of before and embarks on a passionate affair. Watson is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most consistent and underrated actresses, and we managed to get hold of an interview with her, which you can read after the jump.
Coming soon to BBC One is Amanda Coe’s adaptation of Louise Doughty’s best-selling Apple Tree Yard. The Beeb announced a strong cast – Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, Mark Bonnar, Adeel Akhtar, Lydia Leonard, Frances Tomelty and Rhashan Stone – and now it has revealed the first image from the four-part series, which looks set to go later this autumn.