’Apple Tree Yard’ debuted on Sunday on BBC One, and instantly caught the imagination with the absorbing performance at its centre - that of Emily Watson as an intelligent, attractive, successful, married woman, who risks everything she has for the lure of her sexual desire for a complete stranger.
Throughout the ages, some of our most timeless tales have twisted on such a foolhardy enterprise - when protagonists with seemingly everything to lose, little to gain, throw their cards to the wind, surrender themselves to the laws of attraction and, crucially, set themselves on a course of betrayal from which there seems no coming back.
The first episode of ‘Apple Tree Yard’ found Emily Watson as Yvonne Carmichael giving a statement within the House of Commons, no less, when she encountered an urbane, enigmatic civil servant who paid her enough attention to lure her, initially, into a broom cupboard in the basement, and not long after, into a full-blown affair that can surely only end in tears.
Well, all we can say in her defence is, she’s not the first - in real life, or in these top 5 fictional titles. Does it ever work out well? Does anybody get off scot-free? Will we ever learn?
A useful lesson in sass in the face of unthinkable betrayal. When Doctor Foster, an impeccably chic Suranne Jones, learned that her husband had a secret phone, a younger girlfriend AND all their friends knew, it was only a matter of time before the dinner party didn’t quite make it to dessert.
How To Get Away With Murder
Viola Davis seems to have all the cards in Shonda Rhimes legal thriller, ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. As Annalise Keating, law professor, she’s smart, status-assured and shares an ‘arrangement’ with husband Sam. It’s all going well, until he strays in the wrong direction, and the fur properly flies…
The Good Wife
Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) is the perfect politician’s wife, until her husband’s infidelity is brought to light in a corruption scandal. This humiliation proves to be the making of her, but her relationship with husband Gary (Chris Noth) remains complicated through seven seasons.
When Noah (Dominic West) is standing in court on a manslaughter charge, he can probably date the downfall of his privileged existence from the moment he caught sight of Alison (Ruth Wilson) in Montauk’s Lobster Grill, and it was curtains for his marriage to Helen (Maura Tierney). Not one person - lovers, cuckolds, in-laws - gets off unscathed in this clever, intimate thriller.
Possibly the film that saved a million marriages when it came out in 1987. What should have been a harmless and short fling for Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) turns into something altogether more sinister when his lover Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) declares, “I’m not going to be ignored.” There are many victims in this modern morality tale, including, of course, the innocent bunny bystander.
‘Apple Tree Yard’ continues on BBC One at 9pm on Sundays.