BBC thriller The Woman in the Wall explores the horror of Ireland's Magdalene Laundries, where young women who were pregnant or deemed promiscuous were sent to live and work in harrowing conditions under the control of priests and nuns.


Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair) stars as Lorna Brady, a seamstress who had her baby taken from her during her incarceration in a local laundry when she was a teenager – and remains haunted to this day by her ordeal.

She wakes one morning to discover a dead woman in her home – and she has no idea who the victim is or if she was responsible for her death.

Speaking at a press Q&A about the series, Wilson said she was sent the pilot "about two, three years ago" and was instantly captivated by the narrative, which weaves fact and fiction together.

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"I remember thinking, 'God, this is really swimming on something fascinating,'" she said. "I thought it was totally unique in the way it was written, laced through a number of different genres... psychological horror, comedy-crime caper. It was like, 'Wow, I've not seen this before, so I'm interested in where this is going.'

"But it's also about something really vital. I'd watched The Magdalene Sisters and Philomena, but I didn't know a huge amount [about the laundries], so I thought it was a really creative way of bringing this story to a wider audience."

Daryl McCormack and Ruth Wilson star in The Woman in the Wall, looking through a hole in a brick wall
Daryl McCormack and Ruth Wilson star in The Woman in the Wall. BBC/Showtime

Wilson went on to talk about Lorna, who she described as "brilliant and really funny", adding: "She reminds me a bit of Martin McDonagh's characters. It reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe and The Keepers, the Netflix documentary."

Daryl McCormack (Bad Sisters, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) also stars alongside Wilson as Detective Colman Akande, who's investigating the murder of a priest.

"His journey starts in a place where it looks like he has everything together, he's doing quite well in his job, but seeing him have to face his demons, his vulnerability, that was something I really enjoyed," said McCormack.

"I like playing someone who's trying to convince themselves that they have it together and then over the course of events, he really crumbles back to being that boy that's broken, and he has to find his way through."

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The Woman in the Wall is coming to BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 27th August, and iPlayer. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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