Mrs. Wilson: Everything You Need to Know

When you start watching Mrs. Wilson, the riveting new miniseries coming to MASTERPIECE on PBS, believe us: you will have questions. And you’ll be captivated, watching and waiting for answers. But to get you off on the right foot, here are the answers we can provide: everything you need to know about Mrs. Wilson before its March 31 premiere! #MrsWilsonPBS

What is Mrs. Wilson?
It’s a spy thriller and a totally gripping journey that will have you gasping with disbelief and marveling that the truth really is stranger than fiction! Mrs. Wilson is based on the true story of actress Ruth Wilson’s grandmother, Alison, who discovered, upon the sudden death of her husband Alec, that he had another, secret family. But the secrets don’t stop there! And it’s up to Alison to prevent her family and her world from being torn apart as she unravels them, one at a time.

Who’s in it?
Ruth Wilson is Alison Wilson
Ruth Wilson may currently be best known for her performances as Alison Lockhart in The Affair (alongside Dominic West, coming April 14 to MASTERPIECE as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables!) and Alice Morgan in the TV series Luther. But she won many of her forever-fans right here on MASTERPIECE with her 2006 breakout, titular role in Jane Eyre. In 2009, she returned to MASTERPIECE in Small Island, alongside David Oyelowo (Les Misérables‘ Javert!) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock). Wilson is presently on Broadway, playing Cordelia alongside Glenda Jackson’s Lear in King Lear, and—as devotees of Phillip Pullman’s captivating children’s trilogy will rejoice to learn—will headline in the upcoming BBC series His Dark Materials.

Iain Glen is Alexander Wilson
Game of Thrones fans certainly know Iain Glen as Khaleesi-loving exiled knight Ser Jorah Mormont, but Glen has been a part of MASTERPIECE since long before a time of ice and fire! Not only did he woo and lose Lady Mary as tabloid tycoon Sir Richard Carlisle in Downton Abbey; he played Otto Frank, Anne’s father, in Diary of Anne Frank; and was in Breathless (2013); Wives and Daughters (1999); and, alongside Helen Mirren, Painted Lady (1997)

Keeley Hawes is Dorothy Wick
Keeley Hawes playing a beautiful woman in an exotic locale is not just limited to Mrs. Wilson—after all, she’s helmed three glorious seasons of The Durrells in Corfu! Hawes’ other MASTERPIECE roles include The Lady Vanishes (2013) and Upstairs Downstairs (2011), and in 2016, she played Queen Elizabeth in The Hollow Crown on PBS. Most recently, Hawes starred in the British political crime thriller Bodyguard.

Fiona Shaw is Coleman
If you’re casting an MI6 boss, look no further than Fiona Shaw, who plays Alexander Wilson’s handler in Mrs. Wilson, and portrayed a present-day spymaster in Killing Eve. But this is just a happy coincidence, as Shaw’s roles have been as diverse as they’ve been stellar—from the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Society and the National Theatre to screens both big (as Harry Potter’s aunt, Mrs. Dursley) and small (MASTERPIECE’s Miss Marple: Greenshaw’s Folly, True Blood).

Who Was Mrs. Wilson?
“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done—I think it’s the hardest role I’ve ever played,” says Ruth Wilson of casting herself in the role of Alison Wilson. The actress’ grandmother, Alison, fell in love with intelligence agent Alexander Wilson (Ruth Wilson’s grandfather) during the war. Thirty years her senior, he died suddenly, leaving her with two teenage sons and the shocking revelation of another Mrs. Wilson. Alison wrote a memoir describing her marriage, and shared it with her granddaughter when Ruth was 15 years old. Wilson describes her grandmother as “…deeply complex and intelligent. I didn’t realize that she’d kept these secrets with her for so many years.  I discovered this woman full of passion, full of love; looking for someone to believe in and wanting to dedicate herself entirely to an individual.”

Who Was Alexander Wilson?
That, dear reader, is the operative question! Wilson was brilliant and charismatic; an MI6 agent; the author of 27 popular spy thrillers; a devout Catholic; and an enigma. The rest is for Alison Wilson to discover on her journey towards the truth.

When is Mrs. Wilson on MASTERPIECE on PBS?
Mrs. Wilson premieres Sunday, March 31 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS, but you can watch the official Mrs. Wilson trailer right now!

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