A woman grapples with two mysteries: “Elizabeth Is Missing” on MASTERPIECE, Sunday, January 3 at 9 p.m.< < Back to
A woman grapples with two mysteries….
Elizabeth Is Missing on MASTERPIECE
Glenda Jackson stars in an adaptation of Emma Healey’s bestselling novel on MASTERPIECE
Sunday, January 3, 2021 on PBS
Two-time Academy Award®–winner Glenda Jackson (A Touch of Class, Women in Love) stars as a woman desperately trying to solve two mysteries as she declines ever deeper into dementia, in Elizabeth Is Missing, an adaptation of Emma Healey’s acclaimed novel, airing on MASTERPIECE in one 90-minute presentation, Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 9 on PBS.
Returning to television for the first time in nearly three decades, Jackson won a BAFTA and an International Emmy for her performance in Elizabeth Is Missing.
She also astounded critics during the UK broadcast in late 2019. “Glenda Jackson shines in this heartrending whodunnit” (The Guardian); “Jackson gave one of the performances of her lifetime” (The Daily Telegraph); “Jackson is remarkable” (The Independent); “a devastatingly real performance” (The Times); “brilliant” (Radio Times).
Playing feisty grandmother Maud Horsham, who lives alone despite early-stage Alzheimer’s, Jackson is joined by Maggie Steed (Paddington 2) as Maud’s only friend, Elizabeth, who ominously goes missing, leading to one of the mysteries at the heart of the drama. Helen Behan (The Virtues) plays Maud’s dutiful daughter, Helen, and Nell Williams (Blinded by the Light) is Maud’s doting granddaughter, Katy.
The other mystery in Maud’s mind is a puzzle from her past, kindled when she unearths the top of an old cosmetics compact while gardening with Elizabeth. The discovery takes Maud back to her teenaged self (played by Liv Hill, The Little Stranger). Like many younger siblings, Maud looked up to her big sister, Sukey (Sophie Rundle, Gentleman Jack), considering her the height of glamour; plus she had a crush on her sister’s husband, Frank (Mark Stanley, Sanditon). This childhood idyll ended with Sukey’s failure to come home one night in 1949, never to be seen again.
As Maud thinks back on it, she wonders if the family’s lodger at the time, Douglas (Neil Pendleton, In Plain Sight), had anything to do with Sukey’s vanishing. And the cryptic warnings from the long-ago mad woman with the umbrella (Cara Kelly, Trust Me) only deepen the riddle.
In her increasingly disoriented perception, the disappearances of Sukey and now Elizabeth get mixed up—like the jigsaw puzzle that Maud flings to the floor. She attacks the problem with a system she uses around the house: sticky notes, posted everywhere, documenting daily reminders to herself—mostly about locking the door or turning off the stove, but also recording her meetings with Elizabeth and chance observations. Maud’s granddaughter, Katy, helps her arrange the notes. “Imagine you’re like a detective looking at clues,” Katy says helpfully. “You have to start at the beginning, and you have to be logical.”
And she is logical—by her own standards. As memories, clues, and deductions pile up, viewers come to see the world as Maud does, and to solve the mystery as this tenacious, vision-haunted sleuth does.
Elizabeth Is Missing is written by Andrea Gibb, adapted from Emma Healey’s novel. The executive producers are Sarah Brown and Andrea Gibb for STV Productions and Gaynor Holmes for BBC One. The producer is Chrissy Skinns. The director is Aisling Walsh.
Winner of 83 Primetime Emmys® and 16 Peabody Awards, MASTERPIECE has been essential Sunday night viewing for millions of fans since 1971. Susanne Simpson is the executive producer and Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer-at-large for the series. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by
Viking and Raymond James with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust. Presented on PBS by WGBH Boston, MASTERPIECE is known for recent hits such as Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Victoria, and beloved classics such as Upstairs Downstairs, Prime Suspect, The Forsyte Saga and Poldark.