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Apple Tree Yard 

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A provocative thriller which sees an eminent scientist caught up in a damaging and compromising lie. Based on the novel by Louise Doughty.




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Series cast summary:
Emily Watson ...  Yvonne Carmichael 4 episodes, 2017
Ben Chaplin ...  Mark Costley 4 episodes, 2017
Mark Bonnar ...  Gary Carmichael 4 episodes, 2017
Syreeta Kumar Syreeta Kumar ...  Clerk 4 episodes, 2017
Susan Lynch ...  Susannah 4 episodes, 2017
Olivia Vinall ...  Carrie 4 episodes, 2017
Steven Elder ...  George Selway 4 episodes, 2017
Jack Hamilton ...  Adam / ... 4 episodes, 2017
Assad Zaman ...  Sathnam 3 episodes, 2017
Kezia Burrows ...  Kate Costley / ... 3 episodes, 2017
Steffan Rhodri Steffan Rhodri ...  DI Cleveland 2 episodes, 2017
Frances Tomelty ...  Price 2 episodes, 2017
Rhashan Stone ...  Robert 2 episodes, 2017
Lydia Leonard ...  Bonnard 2 episodes, 2017
Adeel Akhtar ...  Jaspreet 2 episodes, 2017
Nick Sampson Nick Sampson ...  Judge 2 episodes, 2017
Wendy Albiston ...  Foreperson of the Jury 2 episodes, 2017


Married with two grown-up children, 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. Written by BBC Media Centre

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Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

22 January 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Apple Tree Yard See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The first episode was watched by large masses of viewers because Sherlock (2010) fans were convinced it was the secret fourth episode of Sherlock (2010) Season 4. It was not. See more »

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User Reviews

Speed it up!..
23 January 2017 | by Adams5905See all my reviews

It's difficult to comment and criticize specific issues without giving too much away-I shall edit and add additional material as the drama unfolds...

I'm rather a fan of slow-burners-I certainly prefer them to the usual juvenile offerings of whizz-bangs, pointless shouty-shouty arguments and endless car chases which seem to permeate everything these days, but I think the BBC have taken things rather to the extreme this time. Sunday night dramas are not really my cup of tea, but after hearing an interview on the wireless with both Emily Watson (who sadly seems to have fallen off the radar in recent years-I loved her in Gosford Park), and Ben Chaplin (a woefully underused actor IMHO), I thought 'why not?'..

Our story opens with Dr Yvonne Carmichael viewed through the window of a prison service transport (a goof, actually, but an understandable one-all windows in these vans have one-way, not two-way glass), staring at the Thames, and reminiscing and ruminating over the course of her life, and the events of the last nine months. Then a segue to her earlier interrogation by a Select Commons Committee (and we discover she's done this before) tells us she is a highly educated professional, and considered an expert in her field, which makes the story that subsequently unfolds all the more difficult to swallow. Yes, I agree with the basic premise that life doesn't end at 50, nor do a woman's sexual urges automatically switch off, but it's difficult to match this sudden outpouring of reckless passion with Watson's otherwise virtually deadpan performance-another character comments later in the episode that she looked like the cat that got the cream (I'm paraphrasing), but I could see no change in her demeanour, indeed, when she suspects her husband (another fine workmanlike performance from Mark Bonnar-shame we never get to see him on the big screen) of past infidelity, and challenges him on the subject, she might just as well have been discussing the shopping list. The only time she evinced any emotion (other than with The Stranger), was in relating the proposition put to her by one of her graduate students, and that was quickly stifled... This contributes to a complete lack of empathy and engagement with her character. Although we know virtually nothing about The Stranger (Ben Chapman), his is by far the more sympathetic role, admitting to his foibles, effortlessly charming, and as excited to embark on a new adventure as a small child...

I think the problem here is poor direction. I'm not familiar with Jessica Hobbs' work (see above), but she seems to be directing by the numbers here, and rather sketchily at that. We know that the two main characters are played by very able actors, and I've no doubt that the source material is top-notch, but in the modern tradition, this mini-series has been stretched to cover four hour-long episodes, by introducing too much 'filler', and lots of staring-into-the-middle-distance, which is supposed to convey deep, meaningful thinking (and fails), when it would have been far better to smarten up the pace, and reduce the running time.

I'm no prude, by any means, but I fail to see why modern dramas rely so heavily on salaciously suggestive detail (without actually revealing anything), and deliberately shocking language, while ignoring plot and character development. In this case, granted, it's intrinsic to the setup to keep details of The Stranger to a minimum, especially as the drama is told from Carmichael's POV, and we do learn something of Yvonne's home life (she's soon to become a grandmother), but cannot see the benefit of delivering such lines as 'you're ****ing a spook'-this from a professional expert addressed earlier as 'professor'-it might also be pointed out here that Carmichael's explanation of the known functions of, breakdown and distribution of human genetic material would not have passed muster in a GCSE examination-I know she was interpreting to a non-expert, but as a leading academic in her field, this just didn't work.

This first episode ended after a shockingly brutal attack (more evidence that this is definitely presented from the female perspective-by no means a bad thing), and, rather in the 'Saturday Morning Pictures' tradition, left us on a cliff-edge, ready for the next instalment. It is reasonably well-written, beautifully photographed (London never looked so grey, and yet so enticing at the same time), but it desperately needs to go up a gear, or risk losing its audience. Let's see what happens next week-watch this space...

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