Emily Watson to Star in BBC Psychological Thriller 'Apple Tree Yard'

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Emily Watson

In the show, based on Louise Doughty's novel, the actress will play opposite Ben Chaplin in a role she calls "grown-up, steamy and of queasy moral complexity."

Emily Watson will star in the BBC's four-part adaptation of Louise Doughty’s best-selling novel Apple Tree Yard.

In the psychological thriller, adapted by Amanda Coe, Watson will portray protagonist Yvonne Carmichael, while Ben Chaplin (Cinderella) will play Mark Costley.

Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line of Duty), Adeel Akhtar (River), Lydia Leonard (Life in Squares), Frances Tomelty (Unforgotten) and Rhashan Stone (Strike Back) also will be part of the cast.

Made by Endemol Shine Group's Kudos, Apple Tree Yard will air on flagship channel BBC One. The U.K. public broadcaster called the show "a provocative, audacious thriller that puts women’s lives at the heart of a gripping, insightful story about the values we live by and the choices we make."

The show focuses on Carmichael (Watson), a married woman with two grown-up children who lives a conventional suburban life until her world spirals into chaos, when a chance encounter leads to a passionate affair with a charismatic stranger (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," according to a show description.

Watson said about the BBC role: "I am both relishing and daunted by the prospect of taking on this role; it’s grown-up, steamy and of queasy moral complexity.”

Lucy Richer, executive producer for the BBC, said: "Louise Doughty’s best-seller Apple Tree Yard is a book that is impossible to put down. We are thrilled to have a fantastic cast led by Emily Watson to bring this story to life on BBC One in Amanda Coe’s breath-taking adaptation of this absorbing and emotional thriller."

Added Manda Levin, executive producer, Kudos: "The role of Yvonne Carmichael is a thrilling psychological roller coaster that requires an actress to traverse an incredible range of emotional states. Wherever Emily Watson has to go in her work, even the darkest places, exploring the most hidden parts of ourselves, she always takes us with her, because she brings truth, spirit and heart to every character she plays."

Filming for the four-part hourlong series will start later this month. FremantleMedia International is distributing it.

The book has sold more than a quarter of a million copies in the U.K. and has been translated into 26 languages.