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Written by Stephen Greenhorn
David Schulner (story)
Directed by James Kent
Starring Jodie Whittaker
Denis Lawson
Tessa Peake-Jones
Jamie Thomas King
Alex Kingston
Dean Andrews
Anne Reid
Shelley Conn
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 5
Producer(s) Chrissy Skinns
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) ITV Studios
20th Century Fox Television
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Original release 3 February – 3 March 2011
Followed by Lightfields (2013)
External links

Marchlands is a five-part supernatural drama first shown on ITV in the United Kingdom on 3 February 2011, telling the story of three different families living in the same house at three different time periods, in 1968, 1987 and 2010. The three families are linked by the spirit of a young girl who died in mysterious circumstances in 1967. The first episode has the appearance of a ghost story spanning three different time periods and generations in a single house in Yorkshire.


In 1968, Ruth and Paul Bowen live in Marchlands with Paul's parents Robert and Evelyn. Six months earlier, Ruth and Paul's daughter Alice died, apparently in an accidental drowning, and Ruth is determined to find out the truth about what happened to her, believing there is more to Alice's death than she is being led to believe.

In 1987, Helen and Eddie Maynard rent Marchlands and live with their two children. They discover their daughter Amy has what seems to be an imaginary friend called Alice, which they initially try to ignore. After a series of suspiciously paranormal activities, matters become more serious when Amy blames Alice for the death of a kitten, leading to her parents sending Amy for medical tests.

In 2010, Mark Ashburn and partner Nisha Parekh move into Marchlands and find a photo of a young girl, who the viewers now know to be Alice. Nisha becomes suspicious that Mark has not told her the whole truth about why they have moved there. An elderly Ruth, who never came to terms with the death of her child and remains determined to find out what happened, returns to Marchlands when Mark employs her as a housekeeper and childminder after Nisha breaks her ankle when falling from a step-ladder.


It was filmed on location around London and the Ashridge Estate with the village of Aldbury used frequently and the surrounding village of Little Gaddesden. The house in which it was filmed is in Tadworth, Surrey. Marchlands marks the first commission to come from the creative collaboration between ITV & Twentieth Century Fox. It is based on the US Fox network pilot The Oaks, which was written by David Schulner and produced in the US in 2008.


Marchlands 1968[edit]

  • Ruth Bowen (played by Jodie Whittaker). Grieving for her eight-year-old daughter Alice who drowned six months previously, she senses she has been misled on the cause of Alice's death.
  • Robert Bowen (played by Denis Lawson). Local mill owner Robert, the grandfather of Alice. As Alice was in his care when she died, he was the last to see Alice; his daughter-in-law questions him a lot about how she died and that is extremely difficult for him.
  • Evelyn Bowen (played by Tessa Peake-Jones). Married to Robert and living with her son Paul and daughter-in-law Ruth, Evelyn appears to be the most pragmatic member of the family. Wanting to move on from the loss of Alice, she believes her daughter-in-law's continual questions aren't helpful. Although Evelyn isn't fully aware of the cause of Alice's death, she has her own secrets.
  • Paul Bowen (played by Jamie Thomas King). Paul is the accounts manager at the local mill, owned by his father Robert. He finds his marriage to Ruth under pressure as they both struggle to cope with their grief in different ways.
  • Liz Runcie (played by Jennifer Hennessy). Mother of Olive and lives next door to Marchlands, she is also friends with Ruth.
  • Alice Bowen (played by Millie Archer). Alice died in mysterious circumstances in November 1967. She has a spiritual presence in Marchlands many years after her death.

Marchlands 1987[edit]

  • Helen Maynard (played by Alex Kingston). Housewife Helen Maynard rents Marchlands with her husband Eddie, a supervisor in a saw mill. They live with their two children, Scott and Amy. When daughter Amy claims to be communicating with the spirit of a young girl, Helen sends her for psychiatric tests rather than believe her story.
  • Eddie Maynard (played by Dean Andrews). Eddie works as the supervisor at the local saw mill. He is more sympathetic towards Amy's claims that she is communicating with a spirit and is prepared to listen to anything she says. Eddie is reluctant to send Amy for medical tests but agrees to it to keep the peace.
  • Scott Maynard (played by Ethan Griffin). Son of Helen and Eddie, he believes sister Amy is seeking attention by claiming to be communicating with the dead. He shows no sympathy towards Amy, preferring to taunt and ridicule her about her story.
  • Amy Maynard (played by Sydney Wade). Daughter of Helen and Eddie, she claims to be communicating with the spirit of a dead girl, Alice. Her family prefer to believe she may have a medical condition rather than believe she is communicating with the dead.
  • Mark Ashburn (played by Ryan Prescott). Mark works in Olive's garden and he falls in love with her and is friends with Scott.
  • Olive Runcie (played by Sophie Stone). She lives next door to Marchlands with her mother, Liz. She has a crush on Mark.
  • Older Liz Runcie (played by Jennifer Hennessy). Mother of Olive and lives next door to Marchlands.

Marchlands 2010[edit]

  • Nisha Parekh (played by Shelley Conn). Nisha is pregnant when she moves to Marchlands to live in the village where her fiancé Mark grew up. Nisha begins to feel the presence of a little girl who used to live in the house. Initially comforted by the connection to the past, she gradually begins to feel lonely, isolated from Mark and the spookiness of the house becomes unnerving, especially when the baby is born.
  • Older Mark Ashburn (played by Elliot Cowan). Mark returns to his former village after several years away. Mark was persuaded to return to his home village by partner Nisha, as she feels it will be the perfect place to raise a child.
  • Older Ruth Bowen (played by Anne Reid). Ruth returns to Marchlands in 2010 when she is employed as a housekeeper by Mark, after Nisha has a setback when falling from a step ladder. Many years after the death of her daughter Alice, Ruth is still as determined as ever to find out the truth about what really happened to her.
  • Older Olive Runcie (played by Elizabeth Rider). Olive is Mark's young love who has lived next door to Marchlands for her whole life. She is keeping a secret but what is it?
  • Older Scott Maynard (played by Daniel Casey). The corner shop owner. Scott is reluctant to talk about the events that happened to his family when he lived in Marchlands and Nisha often goes to the corner shop and asks about what Mark was like when he lived in the village, but he is reluctant to say.


In August 2012, ITV ordered a five-part follow-up to Marchlands called Lightfields.[1] Lightfields opens in 1944 wartime Britain with a devastating fire in a hay barn at a Suffolk farmhouse. The story moves to 1975 where a woman named Vivien is forced to confront the repressed childhood memories of her time as an evacuee in Suffolk. The final chapter is set in the present day and will see a husband and wife haunted by a restless spirit.

Lightfields starred Jill Halfpenny, Sam Hazeldine, Dakota Blue Richards, Lucy Cohu, Karla Crome, Danny Webb, Kris Marshall and Sophie Thompson, and has been written by Simon Tyrell.[2] Lightfields first aired on 27 February 2013.


Episode Date Rating (Millions) Source
Episode 1 3 February 2011 7.36 [3]
Episode 2 10 February 2011 6.75
Episode 3 17 February 2011 6.93
Episode 4 24 February 2011 6.79
Episode 5 3 March 2011 7.08
Average: 6.98

Ratings include the ITV HD simulcast audience.


  1. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (9 August 2012). "'Marchlands' follow-up series 'Lightfields' ordered by ITV1". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Press Centre: Lightfields". ITV. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  3. ^

External links[edit]