The Child in Time starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Adapted from the award-winning novel by Ian McEwan and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this thought-provoking new drama, The Child in Time, follows a husband and wife in the aftermath of a terrible loss.

The Child in Time - BBC

Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children’s books, is confronted with the unthinkable: his only child, four-year-old Kate, disappears in a supermarket.

Stephen and his wife Julie quickly find themselves torn apart by the scale of their loss. Three years on, Julie has moved to the coast to retreat to a quieter way of life, while Stephen continues his daily, futile searches for their daughter. Dinners with his best friends Charles and Thelma sustain Stephen, and so when they announce their own move to the country Stephen faces losing his editor, his best friend and his lifeline all at once. Realising this, Thelma gently suggests he reach out to Julie again. Stephen does so and begins a tentative reconnecting, with the possibility of a different sort of life together.

On visiting their new home, Stephen learns that Charles and Thelma’s motives for moving to the country transpire to be much darker and more complex than they’d initially led Stephen to believe. Charles’ search for his own lost inner child and his attempt to find a kind of peace are fraught with conflict, and clash with the life in politics he has left behind.

Julie visits Stephen to tell her she is going away for a while, but asks that he keep practising the piano she’s been teaching him and insists she will see him on her return. Meanwhile, Stephen spends his days on the government committee on child development that Charles, in his old life, had enlisted Stephen’s participation in. It is there that a chance encounter with fellow committee member Rachel offers Stephen a new opportunity. Rachel reveals the existence of a handbook on child development, prepared in secret by the government. Stephen gains further insight into Charles’ retreat. Julie returns with a surprise of her own that heralds a new beginning.

Sunday 24 September 9pm