When is Big Little Lies season 2 on Sky Atlantic? Who’s in the cast and what’s it about?

Everything you need to know about the return of the drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman

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Another trip to the sandy beaches of Monterey is on the horizon, as Big Little Lies returns for a second season in 2019 – with an even starrier cast.

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So who’s joining the show? When is season two on TV and what’s in store for the women of Monterey?

Here’s everything you need to know…

**WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BIG LITTLE LIES SERIES ONE**

When is Big Little Lies season 2 on TV? 

The first episode of Big Little Lies season 2 will be simulcast live on Sky Atlantic at 2am on Monday 10th June (as it airs in the US on HBO at 9pm on Sunday 9th) with a more sociable repeat at 9pm.

Is there a trailer for Big Little Lies season 2?

Yes! The first teaser sees the gang navigate mounting suspicion surrounding Perry’s death, and Meryl Streep’s Mary Louise Wright (Perry’s mother) having a frank conversation with Madeline (Witherspoon). Check it out below.

The full trailer below meanwhile sees the women enjoying themselves at a disco-themed party, a moment that’s contrasted with the increasing pressure the women feel under to maintain their lie. Perry’s mother Mary Louise also confronts her daughter-in-law, Celeste (Nicole Kidman).

“You left some things out, didn’t you? You were planning to leave him [Perry]. And you learned of his infidelity just ten seconds before he died. You left that out, too,” Mary Louise says.

Who’s joining the cast of Big Little Lies season two and who’s returning?

Just when we thought the cast of Big Little Lies couldn’t get any starrier, it was announced in January 2018 that the one and only Meryl Streep would be joining the ladies of Monterey in season two.

The Oscar-winning actress is on board to play Mary Louise Wright, the mother-in-law of Celeste.

Other new cast members include Bonnie’s mother Elizabeth (played by Crystal Fox) and second-grade teacher Michael Perkins (actor Mo McRae).

Nicole Kidman will be back to reprise her role as the long-suffering Celeste Wright, as will Reese Witherspoon as Madeline MacKenzie and Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman.

Little Big Lies (HBO, TL)

Laura Dern (Renata), Zoë Kravitz (Bonnie), Adam Scott (Ed), James Tupper (Nathan), Jeffrey Nordling (Gordon) and Iain Armitage (Ziggy) will also all be back for season two.

It has not yet been revealed whether Alexander Skarsgård will be reprising his role as Celeste’s abusive husband Perry in season two.

Even though he appeared to be killed off after he was pushed down a flight of stairs by Bonnie, the actor previously teased that he might be back: “I don’t even know if I’m really dead or not,” he told NBC. “I feel okay right now but we’ll see.”

What else do we know about Meryl Streep’s Big Little Lies character? 

Streep’s character Mary enters the scene as a concerned grandmother who has come to Monterey searching for answers about her son, Perry.

Meryl Streep plays Mary Louise Wright
Meryl Streep plays Mary Louise Wright

We don’t know much else about Mary at this stage – except that her and Witherspoon’s character do NOT get along, as we discovered after the paparazzi caught Madeline looking like she’s about to lob an ice cream at Mary’s head in the street.

Drama!

How does Big Little Lies season two compare to season one?

Big Little Lies season one was, as the show’s title suggests, all about secrets. Beneath their glossy veneer, the mothers of Monterey were harbouring secret griefs and suppressed trauma. Celeste (Nicole Kidman) was concealing the truth about her husband’s violence; Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) was in denial about her marital affair; and Jane (Shailene Woodley) was lying to herself, and others, about how the memory of her rape continued to torment her. The final episode saw five women united over the biggest secret of all: the murder of Celeste’s husband, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård ), which they cover up as an accident.

Big Little Lies’ second season, however, is about secrets unravelling. Oscar-winner Meryl Streep joins the cast as Perry’s bereaved mother, Mary Louise, who refuses to grieve quietly. Visiting Celeste and her twin sons during episode one, Mary Louise demonstrates the depths of her pain by emitting a guttural scream at the dinner table. She warns the twins, and the viewer, in advance, but the sound is still a visceral shock. The scene sets the tone for the season. Everything that has so long been internalised — shame, quiet cruelties, damaging truths — is about to be let out.

Streep is a welcome addition to the cast as the sly and seemingly unstable mother-in-law, who quickly establishes herself as an adversarial presence in the lives of the ‘Monterey Five’, with seeds of conflict between Madeline and Mary Louise well and truly sown during episode one.

Elsewhere, Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), the woman directly responsible for Perry’s death, is struggling to maintain the group’s lie, while the first day of second grade proves an unwelcome milestone for the conflicted Celeste.

The first season of Big Little Lies was, by any standards, wildly successful, winning popularity, plaudits and awards, including eight Emmys and four Golden Globes. The follow-up to such success always risked being a let-down but thanks in part to the genius casting of Streep, season two looks set to be every bit as good. While part of the joy in watching this show is marvelling at the women’s affluent, seemingly perfect lives — their beachside houses, their beautiful clothes — the genius of Big Little Lies is the slow reveal of the ugliness that lies beneath.

Flora Carr

What’s going to happen in Big Little Lies season two?

Apart from ice cream attacks, the plot of Big Little Lies series two has mostly been kept under wraps.

HBO did reveal a three-second teaser which shows a glimpse of Meryl Streep making her debut, saying: “I want to know what happened that night.”

Then the scene quickly jumps to all five women who were at the scene of Perry’s supposed death, holding up signs in a police line-up.

Witherspoon previously said that the second season would provide “the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families”.

HBO, meanwhile, added: “The darkly comedic drama will continue to explore the malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and, of course, the vicious ferocity of sound parenting.

“Multiple characters will be dealing with Perry’s death, and the prospect of moving past a life-altering event. In short: Things could get messy.

Which songs are featured on the Big Little Lies season two soundtrack?

Alongside the killer plots and star-studded cast, Big Little Lies boasts a stellar soundtrack. From the drama’s theme music by Michael Kiwanuka, to tunes from Diana Ross, Sufjan Stevens and Sinead O’Connor, click here for a guide to episode one’s music.

Was Big Little Lies season one based on a book?

Author Liane Moriarty and Reese Witherspoon attend the premiere of Big Little Lies (Getty)
Author Liane Moriarty and Reese Witherspoon attend the premiere of Big Little Lies (Getty)

Yes, the first series of Big Little Lies was based on a best-selling book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, and all the source material from that novel was used up in the drama’s first run.

The plot of the second season, therefore, has been a group effort, as HBO’s president of programming, Casey Bloys, explained.

“[Moriarty] came up with a novella, which was key. David [E. Kelley] took it and thought, ‘Is there something I can do with it?'” he told Vulture. “Reese and Nicole were involved, and they felt that there was more life in the characters. Everybody approached it from a place of love and care [for] these characters and this property, and again, with a little dose of skepticism along the way.”

Has Big Little Lies won many awards? 

Indeed it has: a whopping eight Emmys and four Golden Globes. Here’s a clip of Kidman’s Emmys speech…

Where is Big Little Lies set?

Big Little Lies is full of shots of its beautiful cast enjoying scenic drives along the dramatic Pacific Coast, runs along golden beaches and breathtaking sunsets – all of which can be found in the Californian town of Monterey.

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