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Marriage: Release date, cast & news for Sean Bean and Nicola Walker drama

The new intimate drama series stars Bean and Walker as married couple Ian and Emma.

Nicola Walker as Emma in Marriage.
BBC / The Forge / Rory Mulvey
Published: Sunday, 14th August 2022 at 10:29 am
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Nicola Walker and Sean Bean are returning to our screens in BBC’s latest drama, Marriage.

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The four-part drama, written and directed by Stefan Golaszewski (Mum and Him & Her), casts Walker and Bean as married couple Ian and Emma, alongside James Bolam as Emma's father and Henry Lloyd-Hughes as her boss.

The series focuses on the central pair and their dynamic as they negotiate a 30-year marriage, and is already receiving rave reviews. Read RadioTimes.com's five-star Marriage review here.

Of course, fans of Bean (Game of Thrones, Snowpiercer) may be expecting some high drama or surprising twists from the new show, but Bean recently told RadioTimes.com that Marriage was a show where "people will be able to see many things that they can relate to in their own lives and their own relationships", adding that "there aren’t any big stunts or reveals, it’s just a very simple story; simply told, about people and the complications of daily life".

Bean also went on to point out that the series "only takes place over 12 days or so" and that "it’s an extract of that time" in his character Ian and Walker's character Emma's lives.

He continued: "However, what is in those days is rich, revealing and you see what a relationship is... what a marriage is. Their doubts, fears, joy, happiness and heartbreak that go into everyday living."

Read on for everything you need to know about BBC drama Marriage.

Marriage release date: when does it air on BBC One?

Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage
Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage. BBC / The Forge

Marriage starts at 9pm on Sunday 14th August 2022 on BBC One, with all four episodes then becoming available on BBC iPlayer.

Each episode is an hour long, making for a four-hour run-time for the series in total.

What is Marriage about?

Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage.
Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage. BBC / The Forge / Rory Mulvey

The official synopsis for Marriage says: "Marriage follows married couple Ian (Sean Bean) and Emma (Nicola Walker) as they negotiate the ups and downs of their 30-year marriage.

"We see them dealing with the insecurities, the ambiguities, the hopes and the fears that are part of all marriages, as the drama explores the risks and the gifts of a long-term intimate relationship. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always revealing."

It's a particularly naturalistic series, so the story charts the minutiae of Ian and Emma's everyday lives, rather than a big inciting incident or event.

Actor Henry Lloyd-Hughes teased one particularly dramatic scene in a recent interview with RadioTimes.com, describing how disaster strikes when Emma is invited along to a two-day conference by her younger boss Jamie, who Ian is suspicious of.

"It’s the most unglamorous thing in the world and Jamie spends a lot of time pretending he is too cool for it and has no interest, but also that it is sexy and that he is a big deal there" Lloyd-Hughes said.

He added: "For Emma, it’s tied in with her ambitions and another level of her career hopes and that Jamie has chosen her and only her. In name and spirit it’s a promotion to be taken to the conference as his right hand person. Of course, from Ian’s point of view, this is a real crack in their long held and very real marriage."

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Lloyd-Hughes continued: "It is amazing to have a conference as the central set of a piece of drama, rather than a plane crash, car crash or big explosion. But only Stefan can do that and that’s why it’s brilliant. The conference is the showdown!"

Marriage cast: Sean Bean and Nicola Walker star

Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage
Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage. BBC / The Forge / Rory Mulvey

The series stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and Nicola Walker (Unforgotten) as married couple Ian and Emma, while James Bolam plays Emma's dad Gerry. Henry Lloyd-Hughes (The Inbetweeners) plays Emma's boss Jamie, Chantelle Alle (Vera) plays Ian and Emma's daughter and Jack Holden (Ten Percent) rounds out the main cast as Adam, Jessica's boyfriend.

Here's a full list of the main cast for Marriage on BBC One:

  • Sean Bean as Ian
  • Nicola Walker as Emma
  • James Bolam as Gerry
  • Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Jamie
  • Chantelle Alle as Jessica
  • Jack Holden as Adam

Marriage trailer

You can watch the full trailer for Marriage, which features bickering, tears and dishwasher-based romance, right here now:

Marriage will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 14th August at 9pm. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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