Apple Tree Yard

Apple Tree Yard is a British television thriller, adapted from the 2013 novel of the same name by Louise Doughty. The four-part series was commissioned in 2016 and the first episode had its premiere on BBC One on 22 January 2017. Emily Watson stars as the novel's original lead, Dr Yvonne Carmichael, with Ben Chaplin portraying the role of her lover, Mark Costley. Apple Tree Yard follows the story of Carmichael, a conflicted, moderately unhappily-married fifty-something scientist, who begins a covert yet flagrant affair with Costley whilst completely unaware of his background.


After giving a presentation in the House of Commons, Dr Yvonne Carmichael (Watson) meets a lean and mysterious man (Ben Chaplin), who charms her by offering her a tour of the locked Secret Chapel of the Commons. They quickly take likings to one another and have anonymous sex in the historic former broom cupboard. Afterwards, Yvonne begins secretly to compose fantasy letters playing out a relationship with the stranger, Mr. X. The next day, Yvonne tracks Mr. X to a café opposite the Commons, inviting him for coffee. After engaging in unbridled, consensual coitus in the café toilets, they agree to an illicit affair fueled by the thrill of engaging in sexual acts, at times in public places. Yvonne becomes aware that her lover is unwilling to reveal his true identity, but begins to thrive on their shared secret. One night, after meeting with Mr. X in Apple Tree Yard, Yvonne attends a party for one of her colleagues. There, she is approached by a long-term friend, George (Elder), who reveals that he has harboured secret feelings for her for some time. When she rejects his advances, George brutally rapes her.