Spirited Mary Yellan finds herself alone in the world when her mother passes away. Her only option is to travel to Cornwall to stay with her aunt Patience at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor.
Despite pressure to marry local boy Ned after her mother’s death, Mary refuses to compromise. Though Ned is kind to her, she doesn’t love him and won’t marry without love. Mary declines Ned’s proposal, and journeys to the ends of the Earth to Jamaica Inn in Cornwall to stay with her aunt Patience.
When Mary arrives at the isolated Inn she discovers that Patience is not the vibrant beauty Mary remembers from childhood, and the years of marriage to Mary’s bullying uncle Joss have taken their toll, leaving a tired and anxious woman in her place. Joss is a smuggler and the head of a gang of men who smuggle all along the stretch of coastline. It’s dangerous and violent work and when Joss isn’t smuggling, he is drinking heavily to forget all that he has seen.
To complicate matters further, Mary finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Jem Merlyn, but Jem is her uncle’s brother and therefore not to be trusted in Mary’s mind – although her heart may say otherwise…
Life at Jamaica Inn challenges Mary’s black and white perceptions of morality as she finds herself living among smugglers in a lawless land where no one is quite who they seem. When she thinks she has witnessed a murder, Mary wonders at what cost she will stay silent.
Mary Yellan is played by Jessica Brown Findlay, Jem Meryln by Matthew McNulty, Joss Meryln by Sean Harris, Aunt Patience by Joanne Whalley, Francis Davey by Ben Daniels and Hannah by Shirley Henderson.
The first episode airs on BBC One on the 21st of April at 9pm.
With thanks to BBC Media