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Dec 4, 2018
Mrs Wilson on BBC: Who is Alex Wilson?

MRS WILSON will continue on the BBC this evening as the mystery surrounding Alec Wilson deepens. But who is Alex Wilson?


BBC drama Mrs Wilson kicked off last week with the three-part drama telling the true-life story of a woman who discovers her husband’s double life after his death. Ruth Wilson takes the lead in the series portraying her own grandmother. The Luther and The Affair actress became intrigued by her grandmother’s extraordinary story and sought to bring it to the small screen. Viewers have now been asking about Mrs Wilson’s husband Alec Wilson, here’s everything you need to know.

Alexander Joseph Patrick Wilson – better known as Alec – was a former MI6 agent, who was also a serial bigamist with four wives.

The story of his wives only came out after his death from a heart attack at the age of 69 in 1963.

In the BBC drama, the character of the spy is portrayed by Game of Thrones and Delicious actor Iain Glen whose relationships with his various wives are depicted.

The real Alec was not only a spy but an author as well having published a total of 24 novels and three academic books.

Some of the files about Alec are still classified under the Official Secrets Act, so his motives for his multiple marriages remains unknown – was he a narcissist or all part of his cover as a spy?

His only legal marriage was to his first wife Gladys, whom he wed in 1916 and had three children with.

While posted in India with his family, Alec met his second wife Dorothy Wick whom went onto marry and have one son.

Alison was his third wife whom he met while working in MI6 after the young secretary caught his eye. The couple went on to tie the knot and have two sons.

But Alec did not seem satisfied and found wife number four in the form of nurse Elizabeth and had another child, bringing his total number of children to seven.

He managed to marry by simply changing his middle name on the marriage certificate, something that would be unlikely to remain undected in this day and age.

Just like in the TV show, Alec gave Alison a phone number which he told her to call only after he died, thus the tale of his lies and deception unfolded.

Speaking about the series, Mrs Wilson writer Anna Symon said that it was only after Alex’s death that his wife Alison really discovered who he was.

She told the BBC: “It was only after this event, in real life, that Alison learnt how much her husband had lied to her throughout her life.

“So, in Mrs Wilson, the audience goes on a sort of quest to discover who Alexander was, with Alison as the emotionally invested detective.

“We are with her every step of the way as she tries to find out whom she was married to. This meant using a lot of flashbacks to their early years together in wartime London, as well as following her in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death.”

Following Alec’s death, Alison went on to write two memoirs in which she tried to unpack her husband’s deception and try to understand his complex web of lies.

Actress Ruth said that she found it easier to dramatise the events from her family’s history rather than making a documentary.

She told media including the Daily Express: “It would actually be more exposing to make a documentary because it would be me, Ruth, and you would have to give answers.

“But I have never judged them and neither has the rest of the family. I find them both curious and complex. So it is safer to dramatise it, get underneath the characters more, and fully serve the story.”

Source: The Express

Mrs Wilson

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Character: Leonard
Status: Pre-production 2010

Character: Magnus MacMillan
Status: filming

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Status: Run completed - Windsor Royal theatre, UK 2020

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Status: Post production

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Status: TV series broadcast July 2021

Character: Gibson
Status: 2021 - UK

Character: John Manly
Status: Released 2020

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