Ruth Wilson Will Play Her Own Grandma in This New BBC Period Drama

Actress Ruth Wilson, whom you might recognize from The Affair or the version of Jane Eyre costarring Maggie Smith’s son, is taking on an interesting new role for a new BBC drama: She’s playing her own grandmother, who discovered upon her husband’s death that he was in fact a spy and a bigamist.


Wilson will star as Alison Wilson in Mrs. Wilson, based on her grandmother’s memoirs, Deadline reports, summarizing the plot like so:

The drama follows Alison Wilson (Ruth Wilson), who thinks she is happily married until her husband, popular spy novelist Alec Wilson, played by Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), dies and a woman turns up on the doorstep claiming to be Alec’s wife. Alison is determined to prove the validity of her own marriage – and Alec’s love for her – but is instead led into a world of disturbing secrets.

Playing the husband: Iain Glen, aka Jorah Mormont, aka I mean I can kinda see getting drawn into some complex drama for the dude because he does have a really nice voice. Wilson spoke to the Observer, the weekend magazine of the Guardian, about the project:

In a suitably baroque twist, Wilson, 36, will be playing her own grandmother in Mrs Wilson, giving a performance that conveys all the confusion and surprise Alison must have felt when, on Alec’s death at 70 in 1963, she discovered his other lives. “It was daunting playing my own family member, even a bit scary,” Wilson said. “But because it is a drama we are not judging them. It would actually be more exposing to make a documentary because it would be me, Ruth, and you would have to give answers and perhaps make a call on it.

“But I have never judged them and neither has the rest of the family. I find them both curious and complex. So it is safer to dramatise it, get underneath the characters more, and fully serve the story.”

Wilson wants viewers to be able to ignore that she’s playing her own grandmother: “I hope people will not constantly be thinking, ‘Oh, it’s Ruth playing her own grandmother.’ This is fiction and isn’t really me, or even my real grandmother,” she said.

The show will air on Masterpiece on PBS in 2019; the rest of us will just have to sort out any longstanding family drama on Facebook.

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.



Or Luther. Alice Morgan is one of my favorite characters.

This actually seems completely fascinating. I love Ruth Wilson, so this will definitely be on my DVR.