Airdate: Accused

ABC1 will soon air an anthology series of contemporary stories by acclaimed UK writer Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Moving On).

Each of the six dramas follow a different character as they await their verdict in court, and tells the story behind how they find themselves accused. It features Christopher Eccleston, Benjamin Smith, Juliet Stevenson, Andy Serkis, Marc Warren and Naomie Harris as the accused.

McGovern is also developing Indigenous drama Redfern Now for ABC1.

In Accused, each story is about an ordinary person who ends up in the dock. But should these men and women be there? Are they innocent or guilty or somewhere in between? As each hour-long episode unravels we see how these people became the accused and finally whether they walk free or go down…

Willy Houlihan (Christopher Eccleston) is a decent man. He’s been making a good living as a plumber. He and his wife Carmel (Pooky Quesnel) are comfortable, and their children have grown up and are soon to fly the nest.

But Willy’s restless. He’s been having a clandestine affair with Michelle (Emma Fensom). What’s more the lovers have made a pact to confess their infidelity and tell their respective spouses they’re leaving them.

At the very moment Willy’s about to drop the bombshell on his wife, his daughter Laura (Joanna Higson) arrives home and announces she’s getting married. Willy’s guilty secret must wait.

Shortly afterwards Willy’s family are out for a celebratory dinner with Laura’s well to do prospective in laws. He insists on paying for everything and is humiliated when his bank card is refused. It transpires that he hasn’t been paid for his last job because the company is bankrupt.

For the first time in years Willy’s worried about money. But his pride won’t allow him to change what are now becoming elaborate and costly wedding plans.

When his car breaks down Willy takes a cab and finds something on the back seat that might be the answer to his prayers or the beginning of his downfall.

But despite Willy’s best efforts events rapidly spiral out of his control and now he is in the dock and the jury will decide what happens next. Will he be free to go or sent down?

9:30pm Friday 26 August on ABC1

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