Apple Tree Yard DVD Review

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By Will Barber Taylor

Two time Oscar winner Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything, Everest, Punch Drunk Love) leads the outstanding cast including Ben Chaplin (Mad Dogs, Cinderella) and Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Line of Duty).

Based on Louise Doughty’s bestselling novel, Apple Tree Yard has been adapted by BAFTA winning screenplay-writer Amanda Coe (Room At The Top, Life In Squares) and produced by Kudos (River, Broadchurch).

Married with two grown up children, Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) an eminent geneticist 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.

Yvonne’s downward trajectory is excitingly realised; hers is a life ripped apart from the consequences of one single spur of the moment decision; a decision any one of us might make.

Apple Tree Yard, based on the award-winning novel by Louise Doughty, is a darkly modern look at an affair that turns into a crime of passion. Set against the backdrop of some of London’s most elite establishment, Apple Tree Yard is compelling television. The slow burning escalation of the plot, from a chance encounter between Yvonne Carmichael (Emily Watson) and a charismatic stranger, played with flair by Ben Chaplin, builds dramatic momentum which leads to a spin chilling conclusion. Apple Tree Yard is infused with sex and suspense and uses both to their full potential.

The adaptation of the script is wonderfully done with Amanda Coe’s daring script bringing the full honest brutality of the novel to life. Coe’s portrayal of Yvonne Carmichael must be particularly praised – she does not attempt to present Carmichael in the stereotypes of  “strong woman” or a “weak woman”; she is simply a woman. This lends to a much more rounded depiction of the central character which is refreshing and heartening to see on British television.

The acting in the series is similarly dealt with well; Emily Watson as Carmichael is engaging and a central character you can root for. Ben Chaplin provides an energetic and likeable performance that holds hidden depths. The pair are wonderfully offset by Mark Bonnar’s portrayal of Carmichael’s husband, a man trying to keep his own secrets.

Apple Tree Yard is an intoxicating, deeply dark and sensual drama that provides a different type of thriller to the usual blood soaked crime drama we have seen in the past. It is a must see drama which will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Apple Tree Yard is out now. You can purchase Apple Tree Yard from Nordic Noir and Beyond here. 

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