What is ITV’s Maryland based on and what is the heart-wrenching Stockard Channing and Suranne Jones drama about?

ITV's Maryland tells a haunting tale of a mother's double life as her daughters struggle to cope with the fall-out of her deception...

Maryland starring Suranne Jones as Becca and Eve Best as Rosaline
(Image credit: ITVX)

Maryland explores complicated family relationships as two sisters receive devastating news about their mother that leads them down a path of discovery. 

Proving that you never really know the people you love, ITV’s newest family drama Maryland takes a deep dive into double lives and the devastating consequences they can cause. Becca and her sister Rosaline might’ve grown emotionally and geographically distant over the years but their mother Mary’s death on the Isle of Man means their lives collide. Its all-star cast features everyone from Gentleman Jack’s Suranne Jones as Becca to Grease icon Stockard Channing as Mary’s friend Cathy as the show focuses on the sisters’ grief, not only for Mary but for the life they thought she led. 

Here we reveal what Maryland is about and what the show is based on as the ITV drama continues to leave us heartbroken…

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

SURANNE JONES as Becca and EVE BEST as Rosaline

(Image credit: ITVX)

What is ITV’s Maryland about? 

Taking a step back from the thriller genre of BBC’s Vigil, Suranne Jones stars alongside House of the Dragon actor Eve Best as distant sisters Becca and Rosaline in ITV’s family drama Maryland. The three-part drama focuses on the pair as they’re drawn back together after growing apart when their mother Mary is found dead on the Isle of Man. Whilst this might sound tragic enough it’s made even more so because they have no idea why Mary was there as she apparently had no connection to the place. 

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Flying out to the Isle of Man to identify and repatriate their mother’s body London-based Rosaline and Manchester-based Becca are forced to come to the startling realization that they didn’t know Mary quite as well as they thought. It turns out that Mary was living a double life and one that allowed her the freedom to enjoy her very own world - “Maryland”. But the consequences are far-reaching and Becca and Rosaline soon have a lot to confront as the scale of their mother’s deception becomes clearer. 

What is Maryland based on? 

Whether it’s the devastating Steeltown Murders true story or the book that inspired *that* Firefly Lane season 2 ending, so many recent dramas have delved into heart-wrenching real life cases or novel plotlines but Maryland isn’t one of them. For those wondering what Maryland is based on the answer is that it’s a purely fictional tale created and executive produced by lead star Suranne Jones and screenwriter Anne-Marie O’Connor. But that isn’t to say that there was no wider overarching theme that sparked Suranne and Anne-Marie’s Maryland. 

SURANNE JONES as Becca and EVE BEST as Rosaline.

(Image credit: ITVX)

Opening up during an appearance on BBC’s The One Show, Suranne previously explained that the idea of double lives as the premise came to her in a dream.

"The logistics of a double life has always fascinated me - like how do people do it and get away with it,” she said, revealing that after a dream she’d written down the words, “Sisters, house, double life.”

For Suranne the process of filming Maryland was also incredibly personal. Whilst ITV’s Maryland itself isn’t based on anything specific, Suranne has revealed she drew on her own experience of grief for her character, Becca, who’s lost her mother Mary.

She spoke out during a Q&A, as per RadioTimes.com, about how she and Anne-Marie wanted to create a show that sensitively handles grief but doesn’t rush it. 

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"I think it's no secret that I've lost both my parents. So obviously, I know grief," she said. "And that was a huge part of our conversations, was, 'What that is to someone?'. It's either going to come or people have experienced it, and I think what this show does is it doesn't deal with it quickly, it deals with it over three episodes.”

Suranne reflected upon how grief in real life isn’t “straightforward” and added that this was something that was hugely important to ITV’s Maryland.

SURANNE JONES as Becca and EVE BEST as Rosaline

(Image credit: ITVX)

She said, "[T]here was a very clear marking of when you [Anne-Marie] were setting out what your episodes wanted to be, it's the stages of grief that we stay with. But there's humour in it and it's not an easy ride. It's not a straightforward ride and you don't get a blueprint of how you're going to feel."

Ultimately, she expressed her belief that “knowing” sickness, illness, grief and death “was a huge part of it” and that both she and Anne-Marie are “really proud” of the final show’s representation of something so universally felt.

How to watch ITV’s Maryland 

If you haven’t yet dived into ITV’s Maryland then the place to head is ITVX to catch up on all three episodes of this spellbinding family drama. For those who’d prefer to watch Becca and Rosaline’s heart-wrenching journey to uncover Mary’s lies live then each episode is also airing on consecutive nights on ITV1 at 9pm with the finale airing Wednesday May 24.

Sadly, if you’re on vacation abroad when you want to watch Maryland then you won’t be able to watch like you usually would at home. Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.


(Image credit: ITVX)

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”  


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If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch Maryland online. 

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Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!