LAURA LINNEY: This is "Masterpiece."
Alec let me down, Father.
He deceived me.
I thought he loved us.
I'm his wife!
(quietly): And so is my mother.
ALISON: No, no, she's not, (laughing): she's deluding herself.
Who was he?
Who was my husband?
COLEMAN: He was an intelligence agent.
ALISON: What lies... ...did he tell?
You know who I am.
FATHER TIMOTHY: We have all sinned.
LINNEY: "Mrs. Wilson," beginning tonight, on "Masterpiece."
♪ ♪ (steady breathing) (strikes match) ♪ ♪ (fire crackling) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (fire crackling) ♪ ♪ (typewriter keys clacking) ♪ ♪ (typewriter keys clacking) (indistinct chatter) ♪ ♪ (bell dings) (keys clacking continues) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (car engines putter) (motorcycle chugging by) ♪ ♪ Hello.
(keys jingling) Hello, Alison.
♪ ♪ (keys clacking, door closes) Alec?
(clacking continues) (typewriter bell dings, keys clacking) Here.
Oh, wonderful, thank you.
Those are lovely.
How's it going?
When do you think you'll send it?
I hope they bite.
(soft chuckle) Fingers crossed.
Lunch in 15 minutes.
Oh-- don't forget your pills.
Where are they?
I've got to get back for 2:00.
Alec, lunch is ready.
(places utensils down) Alec?
(straining) Alec, no.
(slapping more forcibly) Alec!
Alec, please... someone help me!
Someone help me!
(sobbing) (sobbing) Wake up!
(slapping) Come on don't die on me.
Don't die on me, please!
(thudding) (sobbing): Alec!
(rotary dial whirring) (phone ringing) FATHER TIMOTHY (on phone): Ealing, 6542.
Father Timothy, it's Alison Wilson.
FATHER TIMOTHY (via phone): What is it?
It's his heart... FATHER TIMOTHY: You should tell your doctor, I'll be there within the hour.
(phone clicks, dial tone) (rotary dial whirring) ♪ ♪ (rotary whirring) (phone ringing) (phone clicks) COLEMAN (on phone): Hello?
COLEMAN: Mrs. Wilson.
Alec told me to call this number.
He's just died.
COLEMAN: Thank you for letting us know.
Should I... sh... COLEMAN: Act normally.
Carry on as usual, that's all we need from you.
(phone clicks, dial tone) (clock ticking) FATHER TIMOTHY (voiceover): And admit him, who has no hope but in Thy mercy, to the sacrament of Thy reconciliation.
Through Christ our Lord.
Would you like a moment alone before the undertaker arrives?
♪ ♪ (weeping) (quietly): Bye, my love.
♪ ♪ (hinge creaks) (lock clicks) (metal clinks) (shuts cupboard) (door opens) (door closes) Mum, Dad-- I'm home!
I scored a try!
ALISON (voiceover): I'm so sorry, Nigel.
But did he say anything before...
He told me to look after you both.
He loved you so much.
Have you called Gordon?
(sniffles) Yes, he'll be home tomorrow.
Hey, come on, Nige.
Hey, what will Father Timothy think?
Let him let it all out.
(whimpers) Hey, come on.
They were very close, you see, we were just...
It's all right.
(sniffling) (scrubbing) (water splashing) (scrubbing increases in intensity) (doorbell rings) (scrubbing stops, breathing heavily) (water splashes) I don't suppose you're hungry, but maybe Nigel... And if there's anything that we can do-- we're so sorry... That's so kind of you, Olive.
He was such a lovely man.
(footsteps retreating) (projector whirring) ALISON: I wondered what you were up to.
Who'll do the tree now?
(projector clicks) I used to love it when Dad took us to Blakefield.
(sighs) (projector clicks) Shall we switch this off?
(doorbell rings) Another sympathy pie.
Have I come to the right house?
You must be his landlady.
I'm his wife.
Are you all right?
Who are you?
I'm Alec's wife.
Well, his ex-wife.
He's my husband.
♪ ♪ NIGEL: Mum?
I'm here to collect his things...
I'm sorry, my son needs me.
It's very late.
I'm sorry for your wasted journey.
♪ ♪ (unsteady breathing) Who was she?
Just your father's cousin.
Why didn't you ask her in?
Uh, they... didn't get on.
A terrible woman.
But Dad likes everybody.
Let's call it a night.
You must be exhausted.
♪ ♪ (papers rustling) (papers rustling) (breathing heavily) (papers rustling) ♪ ♪ (bell jingles) ♪ ♪ COLEMAN (voiceover): Read it.
You've been cleared to work in intelligence, Miss McKelvie.
Tell no one.
To all intents and purposes, the department where you're going to work does not exist.
If anyone asks you about your work, you must lie.
You'll be working under me in the listening headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, our work is crucial to the war effort.
We intercept information from every embassy in London.
Our agents listen in to all calls that are made and received translating everything they hear.
You'll be working for Major Wilson.
You type up every word of his transcripts.
You add nothing, you leave nothing out.
COLEMAN (voiceover): Sit here.
Come to do your bit?
POPPY (voiceover): Work hard and you'll survive.
Major Wilson's a bit of a star, actually.
Heard of the Leonard Wallace mysteries?
What, the writer, Alexander Wilson?
Oh... (giggles) ♪ ♪ (man speaking Arabic over phone) ALEC (voiceover): London: 800 hours.
Briefing from Cairo.
(man continues speaking over phone) Restricted until further notice.
Nationalist sympathies strong in the cabinet.
Plans for post-war independence under scrutiny in Al Araby.
We should have lunch.
(keys clacking, indistinct chatter) (footsteps approaching) (keys clacking) Tidy desk, tidy mind, Miss McKelvie.
♪ ♪ (keys clacking) ♪ ♪ ALEC: What does Coleman say to you girls?
You all arrive scared to death.
Nothing, nothing much.
(imitating Coleman): "You type up every word!
You add nothing, you leave nothing out."
(laughing): Something like that.
Major Wilson... Mm.
Could I ask you about your books?
You could, but it's not very interesting.
I just sit at my typewriter and make things up.
(champagne splashing, muffled cries) (muffled shrieks, giggling) You all right?
Just spilled champagne all over myself.
I'll just go to the ladies room.
(water running, stops) Are you all right?
I just made a fool myself in front of my boss.
No, no, nothing like that.
Just... clumsy idiot.
(water running) Spilled my drink.
ALEC (voiceover): Are you glad you came to London?
Cumberland's beautiful, but there's nothing to do there.
You'd die without books.
So, do you write?
A little-- poetry, diaries.
Nothing published, of course.
Just, uh... feelings inside me, things I want to express.
Does that sound ridiculous?
Not at all.
You want your life to mean something.
Yes, I do.
Do you think there's a moment in your life when you take a leap and decide, "Yeah, that's who I am"?
Is that what you think?
(clock chiming in distance) Working here, you have to keep secrets-- even from your family.
Yes, Coleman told me in no uncertain terms.
(chuckling) My wife finds it very difficult.
I don't think she trusts me.
I think she's gonna leave me.
Well, no, she won't actually leave you.
I'm sure she won't.
What makes you say that?
Well, I wouldn't.
(soft chuckle) You're very honest, Miss McKelvie.
(knock at door) NIGEL: Mum?
It's half past 8:00.
♪ ♪ (birds chirping) You all right?
Did you manage to sleep?
Oh, don't go to school today.
Gordon will be back soon, I'll make you both some lunch.
I have to go get ready.
Where are you going?
I have to go out.
I'll be back soon.
♪ ♪ (doorbell buzzing) COLEMAN (via intercom): Hello?
It's Mrs. Wilson.
How did you find my flat?
I followed Alec once.
I just wanted to check if you were still his handler.
I know you told me to carry on as usual but... we had a visitor last night.
She thinks they're still married.
I couldn't find the divorce papers anywhere.
I was just hoping you might have a copy.
I thought you might have some sort of file on Alec.
Nothing that can be shared with you.
You must have vetted him, before he joined the service.
So you looked into who he was.
A writer, top-drawer family, married.
And then divorced.
Alec was extremely important to us.
There were so few men fluent in Arabic at that time.
He showed me his divorce papers.
He was an intelligence agent.
It wouldn't have been difficult for him to forge a couple of documents.
(laughing): Oh, no.
Alec wouldn't lie to me-- not like that-- not for 20 years.
I'm not saying he did.
They divorced in 1940.
I know they did.
I think you ought to go home.
Shouldn't you be with your sons?
We both know how hard it would have been for a Catholic to get a divorce.
Does it even matter now?
She turned up in the middle of the night.
I had to lie to my son.
You knew what you were getting into.
♪ ♪ ALISON (voiceover): This looks wonderful... ALEC (voiceover): No, you look wonderful.
So, right pocket or left pocket?
(both laughing) Happy birthday.
Oh, Alec... Keep writing-- don't give up.
So what's in the left pocket?
♪ ♪ Your divorce papers.
You do know I'm entirely unsuitable for a young lady like you.
Twice my age.
(chuckles) A Catholic.
I didn't think you were religious.
Well, no, I'm not.
My family are Church of England.
Well, on Sundays at least.
(chuckles) I've just never had dinner with a divorced man before.
I'm just not sure if I... You're right.
You have your whole life ahead of you, Alison.
I've lived too many lives already.
Sir... (bus rumbling) (bell dings) ♪ ♪ ALISON (voiceover): Dear Mother, my birthday was super.
My colleagues bought me a beautiful fountain pen.
I'm using it right now.
Work is going really well.
You keep asking what I'm actually doing and the truth is... Well, I know what you're like.
(air raid siren blaring) I didn't want to worry you.
I'm driving an ambulance.
(bomb whistling, Alison gasps) (loud crash, rubble falling) WOMAN: Help!
(people coughing, crying out) (cries out) (baby wailing) Help!
MAN: Someone, please, help!
(people shouting) (loud crashing) WOMAN: Help!
(coughing) (people shouting, crying) ♪ ♪ (horn honking) ♪ ♪ I've got nowhere to go.
(air raid siren blaring) CHURCHILL (via radio): A war cabinet has been formed of five members, representing, with the Liberal opposition, the unity of the nation.
The three party leaders have agreed... Churchill's on.
CHURCHILL (via radio): ...either in the war cabinet or in high executive office.
The three fighting services have been filled.
It was necessary (places glass down) that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigor of events.
♪ ♪ (places glass down) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (robe falls to ground) ♪ ♪ (sighs) (distant train rumbling) ♪ ♪ (soft chuckle) (exhales) Hello.
Do you pray every day?
In these uncertain times.
ALEC (voiceover): One needs to have faith.
FATHER TIMOTHY: I've booked the church for the funeral.
We'd like a full mass for Alec.
It's what he would have wanted.
Of course, I assumed as much.
We'll convert mum in the end, won't we boys?
(chuckles) Hope you like it strong.
Will you pass the sugar, please, Gordon?
Slice of cake?
Any thoughts on the service?
"I vow to thee my country."
Dad was very patriotic.
He always used to make us stand for the national anthem.
(chuckling) I was wondering if I might say a few words about my father's work?
Well, he worked in the foreign office, as well as his writing, of course.
GORDON: Twenty one published novels.
How on earth did he come up with so many plots?
The amount of work he must have put in conjuring it all up.
(chuckling) Oh, no, the stories just kind of fell out of him.
Um... excuse me a moment.
(doorbell ringing) ♪ ♪ Hello.
How can I help you?
My mother sent me.
You see, my marriage certificate.
Well, he's changed his name, his date of birth.
Well, it must have been part of his work.
As a clerk in the foreign office?
Look, as I tried to tell your mother, I married Alec in 1941.
He showed me his decree absolute.
But there was no divorce.
Of course there was.
He's been living with me for the last 20 years.
What did you think he was doing?
Working, living in digs.
Dad said... "Dad said."
(scoffs) You hardly knew him!
He sent money, visited, never missed a birthday.
I'm sorry, what right do you have coming here?
He lived with us, he loved us.
Why won't you just leave me alone?
We need his body, Mrs. Wilson.
For the funeral.
No, but I've arranged a mass in the local church in Ealing, that's what he wanted.
No, no, my mother has arranged a burial service in Southsea.
No, but I'm his wife!
And so is my mother.
No, she's not, she's deluding herself.
She'd know if she'd signed her own divorce papers, wouldn't she?
Well, she did.
(stammering): I have proof.
Bring us the papers then.
As soon as you possibly can.
You see what I'm doing?
They've asked me to go undercover.
Do you remember our intercepts from the Egyptian embassy?
Yes, of course.
Well since you've left, they've become more sinister.
We're beginning to suspect there are traitors there talking secretly to the Nazis.
There's a major battle planned at Alamein and we need to discover what's going on on the ground as soon as possible.
And how do you fit into this?
Because of my Arabic they want me to go to Cairo.
The Egyptians will never trust you.
Unless I'm given a motive for betrayal.
So we've decided.
The department's gonna fire me.
On what, on what grounds?
They'll just make something up, an arrest, a real stink.
It'll be very public.
You know how it works.
(indistinct chatter, laughter) (ducks quacking) Ah, here he comes.
Here he comes.
This is it, my love.
It's all right.
I'm arresting you for wearing uniform under false pretenses.
It's all right, I come in peace.
You come however I tell you.
Take Gordon home, love.
♪ ♪ (Gordon fussing, Alison shushing) ♪ ♪ (Gordon wailing) (wailing continues) Hey.
Hey, love, oh... GORDON (voiceover): You look smart, Mum.
Back to work, I'm afraid.
I thought you could help me write my eulogy.
Yes, of course I can, but later.
Would you buy something for tea?
(baby Gordon wailing off-screen) Thank you, boys.
(Gordon crying, Alison shushing) Hey, shh... MAN (on radio): On this glorious December day, a month after the allied victory at Alamein, we're going to play Rachmaninoff... (turns radio off) (sighs) Why isn't he home, eh?
Where's Daddy, eh?
(thunder rumbling) (clock bell tolling) Go home, Mrs. Wilson.
The Alamein campaign is over-- why isn't he back?
Go home and wait for your husband.
Please just tell me where he is.
Stop asking questions.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Now look at this.
(ornament jangles) (door opens) Oh... You're home.
Oh... ♪ ♪ (distant keys clacking) Hello, um, yes, I'm looking for divorce papers that dissolved this marriage.
Alexander and Gladys Wilson, married in 1919.
But there's no decree absolute attached.
Yes, exactly-- where is it?
If it's not here in our records, then Alexander and Gladys Wilson are still married.
All right, madam?
No, but I knew the parties involved, and they did divorce in 1940.
Not according to our records.
Well, then, your records are wrong.
We could always look him up in the "Times" archive?
See what we can find out about him?
No, that's fine...
Put it back where you found it.
(indistinct chattering) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (tapping brush) ALISON (voiceover): Come to bed, they'll drag you back to work soon enough.
I'm not going back, Alison.
But they want me to stay undercover.
ALEC (voiceover): They'll find me a job in London-- something menial-- as a cover, but in reality, I'll be doing field work, reporting to Coleman.
How long for?
So you'll be the disgraced officer forever?
ALEC (voiceover): I'll be serving my country.
Alison, I'm sorry.
ALISON (voiceover): You're not the one who has to deal with it.
Questions from my family.
What shall I tell them, Alec?
People say such terrible things about you.
But you know who I am.
♪ ♪ (train whistle blowing) ♪ ♪ (car engine roars) (seagulls squawking) ♪ ♪ (ringing doorbell) Good morning.
Thank you for coming.
I'll just fetch my mother.
(faintly): She's here, she is waiting downstairs.
(muffled, indistinct response) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (closes drawer) (gasps) (footsteps approaching) (shatters loudly) (clears throat) Sorry.
My mother's taken to her bed.
She doesn't want to see you.
But I checked at the records office.
There was nothing.
They got lost in the war.
(paper rustling) My mother was nursing her sister in Scotland in September 1940.
Well, she must have traveled to London.
The day after she died?
It's there in black and white.
(paper rustling) Do you think Dad did some intelligence work?
Knew how to forge documents?
Don't be ridiculous.
It's the only explanation.
If he was legally married to you, why have we started to receive his war pension?
Well, a clerical error; if you just give me a bit more time, a few more days then I'll find out... No.
My mother's whole life has been destroyed.
Now, if you carry on, you'll give me no choice but to make official enquiries.
What do you mean?
I'll go to the police and ask them to investigate.
Was your marriage ever valid?
Or should you be charged with bigamy?
An offense that I believe attracts a custodial sentence.
(sobbing) I loved him so much.
We need his body for the funeral, that's all we want from you.
(picking up glass) Your hand... (breathing heavily) (footsteps approaching) Here you are.
His body is at the undertakers in Ealing.
Here... You can have your mass in Ealing as long as you bring his body to Southsea for burial afterwards.
But the name and date of birth on the coffin must be the ones we knew him by.
I've already briefed the undertaker, so I... (glass clatters) My sons must never find out.
They adored him.
So did I.
(birds twittering) ♪ ♪ (footsteps approaching) NIGEL: Shall I come with you?
No, no, no, it's fine.
Just last minute details-- choice of coffin and so on.
I want to.
Spend some time with your brother, hm?
He'll be back at sea soon.
I'll see you later.
(locks door) ♪ ♪ Mrs. Wilson?
How are we?
I'm afraid I've been a bit stupid.
Nothing we can't take care of.
Please sit down, don't upset yourself.
You're going to think I'm a fool.
But my son signed the death certificate and I'm afraid he got a few details wrong.
The date of birth and, you know, coming from such a grand family there were so many middle names.
Poor boy, he's just lost his father.
Can't believe I asked him to do it.
So you'd like to change the engraving on the coffin?
Yes, yes, thank you.
That wasn't so bad, was it?
No... Um... Also, I put a notice in the "Times," and a cousin has reminded me that Alec wanted to be buried in Southsea, next to his sister.
That is absolutely fine, Mrs. Wilson.
We're here to make this tragic time as straightforward as possible.
I'll just get the paperwork.
(door closes) (door opens) Now, look who I found in the waiting room.
I want to see him, Mum.
If you'll just give us a minute to prepare the viewing room.
Well, come on, son, you go and sit by mother.
Hold her hand-- that's right, She's got a lot on her mind.
(door opens, footsteps retreating) (door closes) Nigel, are you feeling all right?
Well, not long till the holidays now, then you can rest.
Before St. Catherine's-- if I get in.
I thought you applied to Oxford.
It's the name of the college that... Dad and I chose it.
I'm sorry... What for?
I haven't been there for you.
What do you mean?
It all came so naturally to him, being a dad, and I was just forever cooking or cleaning or working at that blasted office.
It doesn't matter.
(indistinct chatter) (soft chuckle) (birds chirping) (distant bell tolling) (exhales) (Nigel and Gordon chatting, laughing) It's fine-- one of you do my zip, please?
So, what was so funny?
Just being silly.
You would have told dad.
Well, you know what they say about us naval types?
(Nigel snorts) A girl in every port... You treat women with respect.
The car's outside, boys.
(breathing heavily) ♪ ♪ GORDON (voiceover): I've decided I'd like to read from one of my father's books.
"Few people realize what our country owes to the gallant men "of the silent service.
"To them fame and glory seldom comes, "riches never.
"Often they die quiet, even shameful deaths.
"Theirs is the ideal patriotism "that is prepared to sacrifice home... "family... "everything... for the sake of the land that gave them birth."
(voice breaking): Thank you, Dad, and rest in peace.
(church organ playing) ALL: ♪ I vow to thee my country ♪ ♪ All earthly things above ♪ ♪ Entire and whole and perfect ♪ ♪ The service of my love ♪ ♪ The love... ♪ ALISON: ♪ That asks no question ♪ ♪ The love... ALL: ♪ That stands the test ♪ ♪ ♪ (muted singing continues) ♪ ♪ ♪ And her ways... ♪ ALL (except Alison): ♪ Are ways of gentleness ♪ ♪ And all her paths are peace.
♪ (chatter, distant bell tolling) ALISON: Oh, Auntie Edie, I'm so sorry, but we have to go, the burial is in Southsea.
I beg your pardon?
Alec wanted to be buried by the sea.
Thank you so much for coming.
I've just got to go.
My condolences, Mrs. Wilson.
Alec was such a fine chap, much loved at the hospital.
I beg your pardon?
From Central Middlesex.
Yes, yes, of course, Mr. Ashby, thank you so much for coming.
Any idea who he is?
The hearse is waiting.
Father... Father, thank you.
I'll be in touch.
♪ ♪ I don't see what the hurry is.
The burial service is at 4:00.
Couldn't we have done it tomorrow?
That chap from the hospital seemed to know Dad well.
Oh he must have looked after him when he had his heart problems.
Now look, there's a cousin of your father's who's going to be there.
With her two sons.
The lady he didn't get on with?
Yes, yes, exactly, so don't feel you need to talk to her.
So why on earth is she coming?
I just told you, she's your father's cousin.
But still we shouldn't... Gordon, please!
I'll be back to normal once the funeral is over.
♪ ♪ (door opens) FATHER NICHOLAS (voiceover): Into your hands, Father of mercies, we commend our brother Alec in the sure and certain hope that, together with all who have died in Christ, he will rise with him on the last day.
Merciful Lord, turn toward us and listen to our prayer: open the gates of paradise to your servant and help us who remain to comfort one another with assurances of faith, until we all meet in Christ and are with you and with our brother forever.
We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
♪ ♪ (sobbing) All right, boys?
Wait in the car for me, will you?
I did it for Dad.
Whatever he's done, I loved him.
I always will.
He would have been proud of you.
(sighing) Better go.
I was wondering about the headstone.
No, no headstone.
What would we even engrave on it?
Which date of birth?
An unmarked grave-- It's what my mother wants.
Can I ask you something else?
When he visited, did he... did he stay the night?
(seagulls squawking) No.
No, he didn't.
Mrs. Wilson, can we stay in touch?
Perhaps meet up some day?
They're my half-brothers.
We can't see each other again.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ You made mistakes... but you were a good father.
You were mine.
(quietly): You were mine... (footsteps approaching) I wanted to pay my respects.
Alec was my best friend in India, before the war.
You must be Alec's daughter?
Oh, I'm so sorry I didn't recognize you.
My eyesight isn't what it used to be.
Also, it's been so long...
Sorry, what are you talking about?
♪ ♪ Who's Dorothy?
It's my mistake.
I told you I was Alec's wife and you called me Dorothy.
So please just tell me who she is.
Do you know the real reason Alec went undercover in 1942?
You should speak to Coleman.
Your husband was a good man.
♪ ♪ Who's Dorothy?
LINNEY: Next time on "Masterpiece"... ALISON: Who's Dorothy?
Did he lie to you too?
I love your daughter very much.
GORDON: None of it makes any sense.
Who was he, Mum?
How do I know you're not lying as well?
LINNEY: "Mrs. Wilson," next time on "Masterpiece."
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