The Poison Tree

Series 1 - Episode 1

The Poison Tree
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Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

ITV is adept at turning out these neat adaptations of established novels, in this case author Erin Kelly’s atmospheric debut. MyAnna Buring is Karen, a northern student studying in London who falls into the orbit of flighty, whimsical Biba.

Biba (Ophelia Lovibond) and her handsome brother Rex (Matthew Goode) live in a beautiful, rambling house in north London; naive Karen is soon lured into their dissolute circle, spending an idyllic summer whiling away the hours in a haze of booze and sex. The story runs along two strands — we flash backwards to the start of the trio’s relationship from the present day, when Rex emerges from prison to return home with Karen and their daughter.

Someone is watching this family in their clapboard home by the sea as they try to build a new life. But why? As always with psychological crime thrillers, the answer lies in the past. Part two is next week.

About this programme

1/2. Part one of two. Psychological thriller based on the novel by Erin Kelly, starring MyAnna Buring as a woman haunted by tragic events that took place 12 years ago. Flashbacks reveal Karen Clarke's story from the moment she entered the extraordinary world of Biba and Rex to reveal the secrets she is hiding. Now living on the Kent coast with Rex, following his release from prison, and their daughter Alice, Karen is stalked by a mysterious stranger and desperate to protect her family. With Matthew Goode, Ophelia Lovibond, Hebe Johnson and Patrick Baladi.

Cast and crew


Karen Clarke
MyAnna Buring
Biba Capel
Ophelia Lovibond
Rex Clarke
Matthew Goode
Alice Clarke
Hebe Johnson
Patrick Baladi
Max Capel
Ralph Brown
Sean Hennessy
Neil McKinven
Lex Shrapnel
Naomi Bentley
Helena Pardey-Yaralli
Jules Capel
Nathalie Cox
Probation officer
Sean Francis


Marek Losey
Executive Producer
Margaret Enefer
Madonna Baptiste
Emilia di Girolamo