The BBC are well known for exquisite, nail biting dramas. So when the world and his wife told me that Apple Tree Yard was something I should definitely watch, I did so.
Now, I haven’t read the book that this particular series was adapted from so I am judging it solely as a series and nothing more. And as a TV series, I thought it was very good.
I always say, a great mystery thriller needs twists, turns and tension, and Apple Tree Yard had them by the bucket load.
Yes it was flawed, yes there were hugely implausible events in the pot, of course Yvonne, a well educated, highly intelligent woman must have known Costley wasn’t who he said and yes, someone with her education and intelligence surely knew what was happening inside that house. But do you know what? I didn’t care.
For starters, the sexual tension and chemistry between Emily Watson (Yvonne) and Ben Chaplin (Costley) was incredibly intense. The two made very convincing adulterers, and their pull to each other was incredibly believable, if (as many other reviewers have pointed out) a little implausible and unrealistic.
The thing I loved most about Apple Tree Yard was that it was, in essence, a thriller. And it was exactly that. Thrilling. It had not one, but two unreliable protagonists. Even at the end we have no idea which of them are telling us even part of the truth, if either of them were. And that for me is always the greatest part of a thriller, the not knowing who can be trusted, if anyone can be.
We slowly piece together the clues to work out who the mysterious Mark Costley is, only to then relalise that everything he’s told us is a lie. But oddly, we still think Yvonne can trust him. And then we realise that she cant’t. But the burning question is, can we trust Yvonne?
As with many thrillers, that’s a question we never get a full answer to. And whilst this may infuriate many watchers, for me, it’s what makes Apple Tree Yard one of the best thrillers I’ve seen on TV in a very long time.
Finally, I need to take a moment to writers for writing some incredibly moving and real accounts of how it feels to be a survivor of a viscous attack, such as Yvonne suffers. Whilst I give an enormous amount of credit to Emily Watson for her delivery of these scenes, and the very moving emotional performances she gave, the true credit has to lie with the writers. Without them putting together the lines, Watson’s delivery could have been as wonderful as is humanly possible, but it would have been lacking something. In my opinion, Yvonne’s accounts of the attack, were some of the most moving and honest that I have seen on television. It wasn’t over played as so often it can be, for which Watson must take full credit. But it’ll be the writers, creating perfectly subtle lines that didn’t need over playing to get the message across.
Overall, Apple Tree Yard is television mystery at it’s finest, and if I were you, I’d try and catch it when it’s on Iplayer.