Cliffhanger turns Mrs Wilson into an intriguing drama... and the furniture is lovely

Ruth Wilson and Iain Glen star in the new BBC drama Mrs Wilson
Ruth Wilson and Iain Glen star in the new BBC drama Mrs Wilson

It’s been quite the autumn for dramas based around families and secrets. We’ve had ITV’s police drama Dark Heart, BBC’s undercover cop drama Informer and Channel 5’s Irish-set family drama Blood.

Now we have Mrs Wilson (BBC1, Tuesdays, 9pm), which mixes spies, wartime London and enough family secrets to keep a game of Truth or Dare going for years.

Based on real events, a title piece says at the beginning, but such is the depth of the lying in this drama, you can hardly believe a word anyone says.

Ruth Wilson plays Alison – actually her own grandmother – whose husband Alec drops dead of a heart attack.

Everything she thought she knew about him turns out to be a tissue – a mansize, aloe vera-infused, super-strong tissue – of lies.

We move backwards and forwards in time, from 1963 to 1940s London, and gradually the secrets that Alec kept from Alison are revealed, but the mystery deepens by the end of this first episode with quite the cliffhanger – never has the name Dorothy been used so dramatically.

Family drama could be a change of direction for Channel 5

It’s good, solid drama, and Ruth Wilson is excellent, both as the naive, optimistic Alison of the 1940s, and the older, more matronly Alison whose world falls apart on Alec’s death.

But my attention kept wandering, taken in by the beautifully rendered sets, and the wonderful mid-century furniture – much of which would look great in my living room.

The flashbacks were also just that – flashes – so it was at times difficult to get a grip on who was who and when was when.

But keeping that graveside bombshell for the end means I’m intrigued enough to keep watching.

And I guess that’s the secret of good TV.

Partway through Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out (BBC4, Wednesdays, 10pm) I caught myself laughing, but couldn’t work out why. This was ridiculous in all the best ways, and the funniest thing on TV.

I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here (ITV, nightly) features it’s usual array of has-beens and never-weres, but the little I’ve caught has been curiously charming, despite Noel Edmonds’s walnut torso.