Raised in a remote part of Cumberland, Alison Wilson developed what screenwriter Anna Symon describes as "a very keen sense of romanticism".
"She was a woman looking for someone to fall in love with," screenwriter Anna Symon explains. "She was looking for an extraordinary meaning in life and the person that she met was Alec. That then took her life on a journey that I don’t think anyone could have predicted.
"She’s a very passionate person. She’s incredibly loving towards her sons and the circumstances that she was put in forced her to do some extraordinary things. I think what we all sympathise with is the predicament she found herself in; of trying to protect her sons at the same time as trying to be truthful to herself."
Ruth Wilson believes Alison's circumstances had a profound effect on her later in life. She wrote a powerfully intimate and revealing memoir and became very religious. Although Alison died when Ruth was just 22 years old, Ruth remembers her well. She gave Ruth her memoir when Ruth was just 15 years old. "She was deeply complex and intelligent. I didn’t realise that she’d kept these secrets with her for so many years. I discovered this woman full of passion, full of love; looking for someone to believe in and wanting to dedicate herself entirely to an individual.
"When she fell in love with Alec, he was 30 years older than her. Her parents were suspicious of him, but she decided to stick true to her heart and to what she believed in. Despite those doubts, she remained faithful."
That’s why it was all the more shocking for Alison when she discovered he was also a husband and father to other families.
"That was a heartbreaking thing, that she’d put faith in someone that hadn’t given it back," says Wilson. "There weren’t the support systems in place that we have now - through psychiatry or therapy, or even just networks of women. I think the shame that was attached to her experience would have been huge."
Ruth adds: "She found God after that. She came to believe that all this suffering with Alec had led her to Jesus. I don’t think it is our job to judge people’s experiences, but just to try to understand them. I feel that people find their own path through tragedy. She found that path through God. Once you understand the story, there is an understanding that someone like Alison might look for something other than human support and trust. You might turn to something else that would never let you down.
"I felt very responsible to my grandmother to serve that journey. It felt like her story was not complete without it. It made sense to me. She was a passionate, romantic and imaginative woman, she wanted to love sacrificially and to believe wholeheartedly. She had an enormous capacity to believe. It explains why she remained faithful to Alec, despite everything going on. Or why she tried to retain that faith in him, this amazing sense of faith that continued throughout her life until her death.
"We haven’t served it in as much depth as she does in the memoir, and we haven’t served her Catholicism or really explored what she believed her Catholicism was. But we’ve definitely served her faith and we’ve served the essence of what that journey was. I think she’d be happy with what we’ve done, that we haven’t denied that part of her life."