The BBC has announced that a new series examining the legacy of one of Ireland's most shocking scandal, the Magdelene Laundries, is in the works.
The six-part series will star English actor Ruth Wilson (Mrs Wilson, The Affair, Luther) as well as rising Irish star Daryl McCormack, who can currently be seen starring alongside Emma Thompson in Good Luck to You Leo Grande, and who plays a new role in Sharon Horgan's Bad Sisters (released today!)
Wilson will play the role of Lorna Brady, a woman from the small fictional town of Kilkinure, who wakes one morning to find a corpse in her house. Lorna has no idea who the body of the woman is or if she may have had responsibility for her apparent murder as a result of her extreme bouts of sleepwalking.
Her sleepwalking began around the time she was ripped from her life at the age of 15 and incarcerated in the Kilkinure Convent. The Convent was home to one of Ireland’s infamous Magdalene Laundries, a place where women were taken when they fell afoul of the social mores of their times – from those accused of committing adultery to teenage pregnancies.
When it finally closed its doors, a score of survivors were left suffering in its wake. Very few women were able to go on and lead relatively normal lives, and others, such as Lorna, were even less fortunate in their fate. One thing all survivors had in common, is that none of them would ever forget.
McCormack plays an ambitious detective names Colan Akande who is on her tail for a crime which is unrelated to the dead woman she has discovered in her home.
Creator and Executive Producer Joe Murtagh says:
“My family is from Mayo, the county in which the fictional Kilkinure is set, and it deeply frustrates and saddens me that it feels so few people have heard of the Laundries that existed across Ireland. I hope that by making something that has the familiarity of a genre piece we are able to shed some light on the awful things that occurred within these kind of institutions and introduce this history to the wider public, so that nothing like it may ever happen again.”
Ruth Wilson who serves as Executive Producer adds: “Lorna Brady is a complex and fascinating character and I’m thrilled to help bring her to life. In The Woman in the Wall Joe has created both an enthralling gothic thriller and a moving examination of the legacy of The Magdalene Laundries. It’s a privilege to bring this story to screens.”
Produced by Motive Pictures for the BBC and Showtime, The Women in the Wall will be Executive Produced by Sam Lavender (Saint Maud, The Lobster, ‘71), Simon Maxwell (Get Millie Black, Deep State), Joe Murtagh, Ruth Wilson and Harry Wootliff. Rachna Suri joins as second block director. The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, and Piers Wenger, Former Director of BBC Drama, and Jana Winograde and Gary Levine for Showtime.