Marriage on BBC One: What is the release date of the Sean Bean and Nicola Walker drama? All you need to know about the emotional series

BBC One drama Marriage, from the creator of Mum and Him and Her, explores the ups and downs of the 30-year marriage between Bean's Ian and Walker's Emma.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 28 March 2023 - 1.53am
BBC Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage

Marriage feels like one of the must-watch TV events of the summer.

Throw together Sean Bean (Game of Thrones, Sharpe) and Nicola Walker (Unforgotten, Last Tango in Halifax) and add in a script from the genius creator of BBC comedy Mum, Stefan Golaszewski, and it should be a recipe for TV drama perfection.

An emotional four-part series about the highs and lows of a 30-year marriage between Ian (Bean) and Emma (Walker), the series captures the hopes and fears of normal couples in the moving style that has become writer Golaszewski’s trademark.

Here is everything you need to know about BBC One series Marriage…

When does Marriage start on BBC One?

Nicola Walker and Sean Bean in Marriage BBC

The Nicola Walker and Sean Bean drama Marriage starts on Sunday, 14 August at 9pm on BBC One.

Every episode will be available on iPlayer after the launch.

Episode two airs on Monday, 15 August at 9pm on BBC One.

Marriage cast

Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage BBC
  • Sean Bean – Plays Ian
  • Nicola Walker – Plays Emma
  • Chantelle Alle – Plays Jessica
  • James Bolam – Plays Gerry
  • Henry Lloyd-Hughes – Plays Jamie
  • Jack Holden – Plays Adam
  • Stefan Golaszewski (Him and Her, Mum) – Writer, Creator, Director and Executive Producer

Explaining the characters in the series, writer Stefan Golaszewski said: “Sean Bean plays Ian, he’s recently been made redundant and his mum has died. He’s in a turning point of his life where things are changing for him in the notion of who he is.

“Nicola Walker plays Emma who has plans for what she wants to do with her career and looks after her dad.

“Chantelle Alle plays Jessica who has found herself in a relationship with Adam which isn’t very healthy and is trying to find her way out of that but in doing so is discovering things about herself.

“James Bolam plays Gerry; he’s stuck at home and is trying to control whatever and how little he can.

“Henry Lloyd Hughes plays Jamie; he can do a good pirouette but the ice he is skating on is very thin.”

Nicola Walker in Marriage BBC

Talking about the show, Sean Bean said: “I’m thrilled to be playing opposite the talented Nicola Walker and I’m looking forward to bringing Stefan’s intimate scripts to the screen.”

Nicola Walker added: “This is a unique project. Stefan has created such a beautiful, funny and complicated world and I’m excited to be stepping into Ian and Emma’s marriage with Sean.”

From Marriage to The Split - Nicola Walker's best TV shows

What is Marriage about?

Marriage follows married couple Ian (Sean Bean) and Emma (Nicola Walker) as they negotiate the ups and downs of their 30-year marriage.

We see them dealing with the insecurities, the ambiguities, the hopes and the fears that are part of all marriages, as the drama explores the risks and the gifts of a long-term intimate relationship.

Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always revealing. 

Nicola Walker and Sean Bean in Marriage BBC

Writer Stefan Golaszewski said the show was about how couples “get through things together”.

“I guess I’m trying to write about what it is actually like to be a person instead of what it is like on television or in fiction. People find things difficult and they don’t really know what they feel,” he said.

“They think they feel one thing but often feel something else. They often don’t know what to say to each other which seems to be like a more truthful depiction of what it is like to be a person. In the show, that’s what I’m trying to do: to connect with the audience about what it’s like to be them and live their lives in a minute by minute way as opposed to a broad plot thrusting way.

“Digging into the minute and tiny moments to find the dramas and tensions in the way that we as people live our lives; moment by moment. We don’t experience life as big thunderstorms, it’s more like constant drizzle and that’s what the show explores.”

Marriage trailer

Marriage review – Why you should watch

Why should you watch Marriage? You only really need one reason and that is writer Stefan Golaszewski.

One of the most exciting talents working in TV, Golaszewski’s skill at capturing the humour and joy of everyday life is unrivalled.

Talking about his writing style, he said: “The reason why the stuff I write tends to be funny or an irony really is a reflection of the fact that the world is fundamentally ridiculous and everything in it is pointless but the only thing that isn’t is love and the connection between people. 

Sean Bean and Nicola Walker in Marriage BBC

"If I think about it that's probably the thing that connects everything I've written; there's a central focus on seeking togetherness."

And on the show’s uplifting spirit, he added: "What inspired the show was seeing the world full of beautiful things where people fall in love and then do their best to be together. I think there’s something really gorgeous about humans and worth celebrating."

Watch Marriage on BBC One on Sunday, 14 July on BBC One