Unforgiven (TV series)

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Unforgiven, DVD Cover.jpg
GenreCrime drama
Written bySally Wainwright
Directed byDavid Evans
Composer(s)Malcolm Lindsay
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes3 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Hugo Heppell
  • Nicola Shindler
  • Sally Wainwright
Producer(s)Karen Lewis
CinematographySean Bobbitt
Editor(s)Mark Elliott
Running time45 minutes
Production company(s)Red Production Company
Original networkITV, STV, UTV
Picture format16:9 (1080i)
Audio formatStereo
Original release12 January (2009-01-12) –
26 January 2009 (2009-01-26)

Unforgiven is a three-part British television drama series, written by Sally Wainwright and directed by David Evans, that first broadcast on ITV and UTV in January 2009, and later on STV in 2012. Produced by the Red Production Company, Unforgiven follows Ruth Slater (Suranne Jones), a woman found guilty of murdering two police officers when she was a teenager. Upon release from prison, Ruth is determined to find her sister, who was adopted shortly after the incident.[1] The series is set in Yorkshire, specifically the village of Boothtown in Halifax.[2]

Broadcast across three consecutive Mondays at 9:00 pm, the series averaged 7 million viewers across its run.[3] Unforgiven won the award for Best Drama Series or Serial at the 2009 RTS Programme Awards.[4] On 25 June 2013 it was announced that Christopher McQuarrie would write and direct a film adaptation of the series.[5] The series was released on DVD on 2 February 2009.[6]



Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate Viewers (millions)[3]
1"Episode 1"Sally WainwrightDavid Evans12 January 2009 (2009-01-12)7.82
Ruth is attempting to rebuild her life and to start the search for her sister Katie after serving 15 years of a life sentence for murdering two police officers. She finds out from her probation officer that her sister was adopted and for legal reasons could not disclose where she was or her adopted name. The Belcombe's adopted daughter Lucy gets herself into a serious car accident and is in a coma in hospital. Her sister Emily reveals that Lucy was unhappy and unable to cope with the pressures of university. John and Izzie Ingram move into their new house at Upper Hanging Stones Farm which Izzie believes to be haunted. Kieran and Steve Whelan, whose father, was one of the police officers Ruth shot, find out Ruth has been released and begin plotting revenge. When Ruth visits her old home, she meets John who is a family lawyer, and he agrees to help Ruth seek out her sister. Ruth develops her first intimate relationship with a co-worker named Brad at the meat factory where she works.
2"Episode 2"Sally WainwrightDavid Evans19 January 2009 (2009-01-19)6.47
Steve has tracked down his old nemesis Ruth, but his plans to exact revenge are scuttled when Ruth's neighbour shows up at her door. He develops another plan for revenge after overhearing that Ruth has a sister. Ruth confesses to Brad about her past and the next day becomes the target of a hate campaign at work. John finds out for Ruth that her sister Katie was adopted, living with Rachel and Michael Belcombe, and renamed Lucy. Meanwhile, Lucy wakes from her coma and begins to grapple with issues regarding her past. Michael and Rachel Belcombe find out that Ruth wants to re-establish contact with Lucy and are cold to the idea. Izzie finds out about Ruth's past, giving Ruth a frosty reception when she visits them again and Izzie is also livid to find out her youngest son was responsible for making her believe the house was haunted. With John's help, Ruth manages to meet the Belcombes but the meeting does not go well when she finds out the Belcombes never gave her letters to Katie/Lucy. Steve discovers his wife is having an affair with his brother. Emily stumbles upon Ruth's letters, and is moved by them and sends Ruth an anonymous letter telling her where to find her sister.
3"Episode 3"Sally WainwrightDavid Evans26 January 2009 (2009-01-26)7.11
Ruth is haunted by flashbacks of her arrest as she goes to the University of York to seek out Lucy. Upon arriving there, she cannot summon the courage to speak to Lucy but rather only watches her from afar. Izzie, who has regretted her conduct towards Ruth makes amends when Ruth visits the house. On the edge after discovering his wife's infidelity, Steve finds out from a private eye Katie's new name and address. Steve's plan for revenge, however, starts to go wrong when he kidnaps Lucy's sister Emily instead. Ruth, back at York University, receives a call from Steve that he has kidnapped and is threatening to kill her sister; a baffled Ruth tells Steve that Lucy is at her location and Steve only realizes his mistake when Emily confirms her identity. With Izzie's help, Ruth summons the courage to tell an incredulous Lucy about the turn of events and to notify the Belcombes. During the drive to rescue Emily, Lucy's true relationship to Ruth begins to reveal itself and the two sisters are finally reunited.


  1. ^ Thomas, Rebecca (12 January 2009). "Talking Shop: Suranne Jones". BBC News Online. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Talking Shop: TV Review: Unforgiven, ITV1". TV Scoop. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "BARB - Weekly Top 30 Programmes". BARB. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Programme Awards 2009". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012.
  5. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (25 June 2013). "Christopher McQuarrie Returns To Write, Direct GK Films Adaptation Of British Miniseries 'Unforgiven'". Deadline. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Unforgiven [DVD]". Amazon. Retrieved 17 January 2019.

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