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Everything you need to know about Marriage

Everything you need to know about Marriage

We can’t wait to get stuck into new BBC drama Marriage, thanks to the impeccable credentials of its writer-director and cast 

By Virgin TV Edit

Writer and director Stefan Golaszewski has made a name for himself as the force behind subtle, funny and genuinely moving British TV series that examine the magic, misery and mundanity of romantic and familial relationships.


Now, he’s back with Marriage – a new four-part BBC drama exploring the pleasures and pains of loving the same person for almost three decades, stacked with a stellar cast of British acting talent. 

Read on for everything you need to know about one of August’s must-watch TV events. 

It’s created by the man behind Him & Her 

Golaszewski’s first sitcom Him & Her, set entirely within the one-bedroom flat of schlubby twentysomething couple Steve and Becky (Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani), aired on BBC Three for four series from 2010 – culminating in a Best Sitcom BAFTA in 2014. 


He followed up with hit BBC Two sitcom Mum, starring Lesley Manville as newly widowed suburban mother Cathy. Unlike Golaszewski’s previous two series, Marriage is billed as a drama, not a comedy – but it looks as though it will have a similarly witty and poignant tone to his previous work. 


Nicola Walker and Sean Bean play a long-married couple 

Nicola Walker is undisputed British TV royalty, thanks to her starring roles in The Split and Unforgotten (not to mention her turn in Last Tango In Halifax, for which she was twice nominated for a BAFTA). In Marriage, she plays Emma, who has been married to Ian (Bean) for 27 years.


Marriage is very much in Walker’s wheelhouse as a naturalistic series digging into the emotional life of an “ordinary” working woman. But it’s been a while since we’ve seen something like this from Bean, whose recent TV credits include the crime-inspired (Time), the fantastical (Game Of Thrones) and the dystopian (Snowpiercer). 


The series will be an “up-close portrait of a marriage” 

Every marriage has periods of smooth sailing interspersed with choppy waters – and that’s particularly true when said marriage has lasted for decades. The BBC has promised that Marriage will see Emma and Ian “dealing with the insecurities, the ambiguities, the hopes and the fears that are part of all marriages, as the drama explores the risks and the gifts of a long-term intimate relationship”. 


From the trailer, we know we can expect to see sexual jealousy, quiet nights on the sofa, parental pride, rows about baked potatoes and moments of real, enduring romance – even if those moments are interrupted by laughter and eye-rolls. 


The supporting cast is seriously strong  

Chantelle Alle, who recently appeared in the critically acclaimed BBC series Mood and Channel 4’s We Are Lady Parts, will play Emma and Ian’s twentysomething daughter Jessica. Meanwhile, Henry Lloyd-Hughes (Ragdoll) appears as Jamie, Emma’s younger boss. Based on the trailer, it looks as though Ian will grow suspicious that their relationship is more than professional… 


The cast also includes 87-year-old British TV legend James Bolam as Gerry, Emma’s father. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen him before, the Sunderland-born actor – who started his TV career in 1963 – has starred in everything from 1960s black-and-white BBC sitcom The Likely Lads to police procedural New Tricks between 2003 and 2012. 


You can catch up on other Nicola Walker and Sean Bean shows before then 

If you can’t wait until mid-August to get your fix of two of the UK’s best actors, you can watch some of their other recent work on Virgin TV.  


All three series of The Split, starring Walker as a top divorce lawyer dealing with her own marriage problems, are available to watch now in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. You can also find five series of Last Tango In Halifax on iPlayer as well as the complete Spooks, in which Walker appeared between series two and 10.  


The first series of Time, starring Bean as a new inmate struggling to survive in prison, is also available to watch in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. You can watch post-apocalyptic transport drama series Snowpiercer, based on the 2013 film by Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho, in Apps & Games > Netflix.


When is the BBC’s Marriage on TV?

begins on BBC One HD (CH 101) on Sunday 14 August at 9pm, with the second episode screening on Monday 15 August. Episodes 3 and 4 will air the following Sunday and Monday, and it will also be available in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer.

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Image credit: Marriage © The Forge / Rory Mulvey