Gina McKee and Jeremy Northam star in Fiona's Story – a powerful one-off drama on BBC One, Sunday 31 August 2008, 9.00-10.30pm
A powerful one-off drama for BBC One, Fiona's Story is a tale of trust, betrayal and the breakdown of a marriage.
Bafta-nominee Gina McKee stars as Fiona Mortimer, a woman who fights to hold her family together after her husband Simon, played by Jeremy Northam, is accused of downloading images of child sexual abuse from the internet.
As police investigations get underway Simon is released on bail and returns to the family home, but Fiona's life has changed and her trust in her husband is challenged to the limit as events unfold over the course of a year.
Although she knew her marriage wasn't perfect, Fiona now has to face the terrifying possibility that her children may not be safe with their own father and that the man she loved is guilty of a terrible crime.
An emotionally raw drama, Fiona's Story looks at the impact of these accusations on the family of the accused, the turmoil they face, the questions they have and the actions they take as uncertainty surrounds them.
Written by newcomer Kate Gabriel and based on extensive research, Fiona's Story powerfully explores a myriad of emotions and begs the question: "What would you do?"
Director Adrian Shergold (He Kills Coppers, Low Winter Sun) welcomed the opportunity to tell this topical tale from a different perspective.
He explains: "I must confess, when I first heard about the project and the subject matter I thought: 'I'm really not sure I want to go there'.
"However, once I read the script and saw that it was a deeply personal story about the implication of these accusations on a marriage, I was drawn to it.
"It's not about what Simon's been doing or the images he's seen but how his family are affected by his decisions."
And Adrian gives credit to the powerful performances of the two leads: "Both Gina and Jeremy are thoughtful actors. Gina has an extraordinary serenity and she's truly mesmeric on screen as she takes viewers on a journey through her emotions.
"Jeremy is phenomenal and gives a staggering performance in Fiona's Story.
"He plays a character who never really owns up to what he's done – he's in constant denial and that absolutely shapes him.
"In his mind he's not the type of man who looks at child sexual abuse. For him, denial was necessary."
In terms of challenging reactions, Adrian believes that the audience will experience many emotions: "It's interesting because the feedback I've had so far from those around about me has been extremely varied.
"Not one person had the same reaction to the drama. It had a diverse effect on those who have seen the finished piece.
"In terms of the viewers, I would absolutely urge them to live with these characters and go with them through these powerful circumstances."
Fiona's Story continues in the footsteps of distinctive new drama through BBC Drama, which is committed to bold and challenging story-telling.
In the last 12 months alone, it has produced Criminal Justice, the Curse Of Comedy season, Stuart – A Life Backwards (BBC Two), about a homeless man with muscular dystrophy, and Coming Down The Mountain (BBC One), a drama about two brothers – one of whom has Down's Syndrome.
Fiona's Story is a BBC Scotland production for BBC One and also stars Jimi Mistry, Claire Bloom, Nicholas Farrell and Amanda Root.