Pick of the Crop for Sunday Nights

TVNZ 1 will revert to premium British drama on Sunday nights with the June 18 premiere of Apple Tree Yard.

It stars Emily Watson as an unhappily married, eminent scientist who embarks on a passionate affair without a clue of her lover’s true identity.

The four-part series was popular with Britons but divided critics.

“Occasionally it was a little too slow-burning – but the final twist was just as dark and intense as the opener,” The i said of the premiere.

“The sex scenes may have generated the publicity, but Apple Tree Yard is adult drama in the best sense – subtle, unsettling and richly rewarding.”

But after praising its writing, directed and acting, The Times’ Andrew Billen wished it had not been made.

“Its first episode displayed, I thought, a vengeful hatred of female sexuality.”

The Daily Express thought there was a “faint whiff of Fifty Shades, watching it all happen is very addictive. This is ugly, sleazy, passionate and dangerous – and why shouldn’t it be?”

Observed The Telegraph two weeks into the series: “What a thrill it has been to watch Apple Tree Yard fail to live up to its initial billing as thinking person’s bonkbuster.

“Episode three offered further confirmation that, far from an upmarket Fifty Shades of Grey, the BBC has wrought a meticulously misanthropic psychodrama with devastating insights into the human capacity for self-destruction.”

And The Guardian pondered if it was the first honest portrayal of rape on TV: “In a world where people are still holding television debates about whether women are responsible for provoking rapists by wearing short skirts, Apple Tree Yard isolates the horror of rape, and illuminates the surrounding irrelevance.”

📌 Apple Tree Yard will screen 8.30 Sundays on TVNZ 1 from June 18.

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