Ruth Wilson stars in this major new drama set in small-town Ireland. Here’s why we can’t wait for it to start
By Chris Miller, Feature Writer
With her startling intensity, phenomenal range and magnificent eyebrows, Ruth Wilson is one of the finest TV actors currently working and her presence is always a reason to tune in to a new drama. And not only does she star in new BBC One series The Woman In The Wall but she also helped bring it to the screen as executive producer.
The drama promises to be dark, chilling and altogether gripping, with Wilson in the lead role as Lorna Brady, a woman in a small Irish town who awakes one day to find a body in her house. She has no memory of how it got there but as the investigation proceeds, suspicion falls on her. With her history of trauma and sleepwalking, she can’t be ruled out as a suspect.
Here’s a look ahead to the show.
In essence it’s a murder mystery, but there are plenty of other things going on here: the exploration of the mental state of a trauma survivor, and the examination of the semi-hidden, semi-condoned practices in Irish society that scarred generations.
The Woman In The Wall promises to be an unforgettable drama, with shocking moments in abundance and plenty of talent involved. It starts on Sunday 27 August at 9.05pm on BBC One HD (CH 101) and will also be streaming in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. Here’s why we think it’ll be one of the best TV series of the year.
Ruth Wilson is always absolutely compelling
Wilson was great in her first TV role as the title character in 2006’s Jane Eyre opposite Toby Stephens as Rochester – but it was her breakthrough role in Luther that made everyone sit up and pay attention. Wilson’s performance as the unhinged yet tightly controlled Alice Morgan was the best thing about this excellent show. Intelligent, charismatic, magnetic – it was no stretch to believe Idris Elba’s detective found himself drawn to her, despite her murderous nature.
She was compelling again in the horror movie I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, and when playing her own grandmother in the miniseries Mrs Wilson, an eye-opening fact-based drama about the secrets that society forces men and women to keep. When the BBC was casting Mrs Coulter in His Dark Materials, a wildly complex character who veers between cruelty and compassion, who’s both maternal and indifferent, who craves power but fears the consequences, it was a no-brainer. Wilson nailed the part.
- Luther – Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer
- His Dark Materials – Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer
- Mrs Wilson – Apps & Games > Netflix
- I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House – Apps & Games > Netflix
Daryl McCormack is one to watch
At just 30, the Irish actor has already built an impressive career. After a small role in the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, he appeared in two seasons of Peaky Blinders as Isiah Jesus, a close friend of Michael Gray (Finn Cole), and won one of the lead roles in the breakout Irish hit film Pixie opposite Olivia Cooke (Vanity Fair). Then he was cast alongside actual Emma Thompson in 2022’s memorable Good Luck To You, Leo Grande as the titular Leo, a role that brought him a BAFTA nomination.
McCormack brings charm and sensitivity to every role – and Colman Akande, the investigating detective he plays in The Woman In The Wall, is forced to tread carefully owing to the unstable nature of his main suspect.
- A Very English Scandal – Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer
- Peaky Blinders – Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer + Apps & Games > Netflix
- Pixie – Apps & Games > Channel 4
- Good Luck To You, Leo Grande – Apps & Games > Prime Video
There’s talent behind the camera
Creator Joseph Murtagh was credited as a co-writer on the award-winning independent film American Animals, an entertaining heist movie, and adapted Colin Barrett’s novella Calm With Horses into a successful film version (pictured above) starring The Banshees Of Inisherin’s Barry Keoghan. The series is directed by Rachna Suri, who’s worked on both the BBC’s Ackley Bridge and Netflix’s The Bastard Son And The Devil Himself, and Harry Wootliff, writer of the acclaimed movie Only You – and she also directed the devastating final episode of His Dark Materials.
The truth behind the fiction is significant
Detective Akande’s investigations lead him to the nearby Kilkinure Convent, home to one of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, and although this one is fictional, these institutions and their legacy are very real. Tens of thousands of women and girls passed through the laundries when they fell foul of society’s rules, which often meant pregnancy outside marriage, and many were condemned to lives of servitude and misery – or worse. Their practices were brought to light in the 1990s when scores of women’s bodies were found in unmarked graves in Dublin.
The system lasted around 150 years and the last laundry closed its doors as recently as 1996, which means many of those who survived are still alive today.
When is The Woman On The Wall on BBC One?
The six-part series begins on Sunday 27 August at 9.05pm on BBC One HD (CH 101) and in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. It continues with episode 2 on Bank Holiday Monday at 9pm on BBC One HD.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
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Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
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Image credit: The Woman In The Wall © Motive pictures / Chris Barr