Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson (born 13 January 1982)[1] is an English actress. She is known for her performances in Suburban Shootout (2005), Jane Eyre (2006), as Alice Morgan in the BBC TV psychological crime drama Luther (2010–2013, 2019),[2] as Alison Lockhart in the Showtime drama The Affair (2014–2018), and as the titular character in Mrs Wilson (2018). Her film credits include The Lone Ranger (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), and Dark River (2017).

Ruth Wilson
Wilson in July 2019
Born (1982-01-13) 13 January 1982
EducationNotre Dame School, Surrey
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2003–present
RelativesAlexander Wilson (grandfather)
Dennis Wilson (half-uncle)

Wilson is a three-time Olivier Award nominee and two-time winner, earning the Best Actress for the titular role in Anna Christie, and the Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.[3] She has won a Golden Globe for her role in The Affair and received nominations for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for the title role in Jane Eyre.

Early life

Wilson was born in Ashford, Middlesex, the daughter of Mary, a probation officer, and Nigel Wilson, an investment banker.[4] She has three older brothers: Toby, Sam (a BBC journalist) and Matthew. She is the granddaughter of novelist and MI6 officer Alexander Wilson and his third, bigamously-married, wife, Alison (née McKelvie).[5][6] Her great-grandmother was Irish.[7] Wilson grew up in Shepperton, Surrey,[8] and was raised as a Catholic.[9]

Wilson attended Notre Dame School, an independent Catholic school for girls located in Cobham, before attending sixth form at Esher College.[10] As a teenager, she worked as a model, and went on to study history at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2003. While at Nottingham, she was also involved in student drama at the Nottingham New Theatre. She graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in July 2005.[11] Afterwards, she co-founded Hush Productions.[12] During her time at Nottingham, she participated in the TV war strategy game Time Commanders, helping her teammates fight in the Battle of Pharsalus.


Prior to her role in Jane Eyre, Wilson had one professional screen credit, in Suburban Shootout, a situation comedy she appeared in with Tom Hiddleston.[13]

In 2006–07, she filmed the second series of Suburban Shootout, a new Agatha Christie's Marple mystery (Nemesis) for ITV, and Stephen Poliakoff's BBC television drama Capturing Mary as the young Mary.

In 2007, Wilson appeared in Gorky's Philistines, playing Tanya, at the National from May until August.[14] In June, she presented the 2007 Lilian Baylis Awards.[15] Other projects in 2007 included a guest appearance in the sitcom Freezing as Alison Fennel (transmitted on BBC2, 21 February 2008); narration of the documentary The Polish Ambulance Murders (transmitted on BBC4, 5 February 2008); and the portrayal of a mentally ill doctor in the dramatised documentary The Doctor Who Hears Voices (transmitted on UK Channel 4, 21 April 2008).[16]

From 23 July to 3 October 2009, she appeared as Stella in the Donmar revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.[17] On 15 November 2009 AMC Television and ITV premiered the 2009 TV miniseries remake of The Prisoner, in which Wilson played the Village doctor, "Number 313."[18] She played "Queenie" in an adaptation of Andrea Levy's Small Island, which aired on BBC1 in December 2009[19] and also aired in the United States on PBS in 2010.

Since 2010, she has appeared in the British psychological police drama Luther as Alice Morgan, a research scientist and highly intelligent individual described by Luther as a narcissist. In September 2012, the series' creator, Neil Cross, announced that he was in the process of creating a spin-off of Luther centred on Wilson's character, though as of 2018 this has not happened. Cross stated, "The BBC is very interested in the project. The only real question would be how many and how often we would do it – whether it would be a one-off miniseries or a returning miniseries, a co-production or not."[20] While Wilson could not appear in series four of Luther due to filming clashing with The Affair,[21] she returned for series five.[2]

From 4 August to 8 October 2011, Wilson starred in the title role of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Jude Law. Her performance prompted The Guardian to devote an editorial to Wilson's "courageous, edgy and compelling talent".[22]

In 2014, Wilson began starring as Alison Bailey on The Affair, for which she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in January 2015. The show has now run for four seasons. On 5 August 2018 it was reported that Wilson was leaving the show by her own choice.[23]

Her film I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, directed by Oz Perkins, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.[24]

From December 2016 to February 2017, Wilson starred in the title role of Hedda Gabler in a new version by Patrick Marber at the Royal National Theatre. The production, and Wilson's performance in particular, received critical acclaim.[25][26]

Mrs Wilson

In November 2018, Wilson starred as the title character Alison Wilson—her real-life grandmother—in the BBC drama Mrs Wilson. Alison Wilson was the third of four wives of former MI6 officer and novelist Alexander Wilson. They were married for 22 years. After his death in 1963, Alison discovered one other wife with whom she collaborated on the funeral. In order not to create extra shock for his children, the other wife and her children attended the funeral as 'distant relatives'. Alison died in 2005 without knowing he had two further wives. Ruth Wilson explains in a December 2018 Radio Times interview that the script for the series that showed Alison uncovering all of the wives was dramatised in order to reveal the full story during the series. She was also an executive producer for the series.[27]



2007Get Off My LandWomanShort film
2012Anna KareninaPrincess Betsy
2013The Lone RangerRebecca Reid
Saving Mr. BanksMargaret Goff
2014LockeKatrina (voice)
2015Suite FrançaiseMadeleine
2016I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the HouseLily
2017How to Talk to Girls at PartiesPT Stella
Dark RiverAlice
2018The Little StrangerCaroline AryesAlso executive producer


2003Time CommandersHerselfEpisode: "Pharsalus"
2006Jane EyreJane Eyre4 episodes
2006–07Suburban ShootoutJewel Diamond10 episodes
2007Agatha Christie's MarpleGeorgina BarrowEpisode: "Nemesis"
2007Capturing Mary Young MaryTelevision film
2007A Real SummerMary / GeraldineTelevision film
2008FreezingAlison FennelEpisode: "#1.2"
2008The Doctor Who Hears VoicesRuthTelevision film
2009Small IslandQueenieTelevision film
2009The PrisonerSara / 3136 episodes
2010–presentLutherAlice Morgan13 episodes
2014–18The AffairAlison Bailey33 episodes
2017Reported MissingNarrator3 episodes
2018Mrs. WilsonAlison Wilson3 episodes[28]
2019His Dark MaterialsMarisa CoulterMain role


Year Title Role Venue(s) Ref.
2005GoodSound Theatre
2007PhilistinesTanyaLyttelton Theatre / Royal National Theatre[29]
2009A Streetcar Named DesireStellaDonmar Warehouse[30]
2010Through a Glass DarklyKarinAlmeida Theatre[31]
2011Anna ChristieAnna ChristieDonmar Warehouse
2013The El TrainMrs Rowland, RoseHoxton Hall[32]
2015ConstellationsMarianneSamuel J. Friedman Theatre
2016–2017Hedda GablerHedda GablerRoyal National Theatre[25]
2019King LearCordelia / FoolCort Theatre


Year Title Role Channel
2008The Mayor of Casterbridge[33]Elizabeth-JaneBBC Radio 4
2009The Promise[34]LikaBBC Radio 3
2009The Lady of the CamelliasMarguerite GautierBBC Radio 4
2010Spitfire![35]DaphneBBC Radio 4

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2007 British Academy Television Award Best Actress Jane Eyre Nominated [36]
Broadcasting Press Guild Best Actress Nominated [37]
Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [38]
Satellite Award Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [39]
2010 Luther Nominated [40]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role A Streetcar Named Desire Won [41]
2012 Best Actress Anna Christie Won [42]
2014 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama The Affair Won [43]
2015 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [44]
Tony Award Best Leading Actress in a Play Constellations Nominated [45]
Theatre World Award Honoree [46]
2017 Satellite Award Best Actress in a Drama Series The Affair Nominated [47]
British Independent Film Award Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film Dark River Nominated [48]
Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress Hedda Gabler Nominated [49]
2019 British Academy Television Award Best Actress in a Leading Role Mrs Wilson Nominated [50]
Best Mini-Series Nominated [50]
Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play King Lear Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated


  1. "Ruth Wilson". Archived from the original on 10 September 2015.
  2. Stolworthy, Jacob (23 February 2018). "Ruth Wilson sheds light on Luther season 5 return: 'Alice is back with a vengeance'". The Independent.
  3. "Olivier Winners 2010". Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  4. Brockes, Emma (31 August 2012). "Ruth Wilson: acting up". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  5. ""Comparative Media Law & Ethics" by Tim Crook". Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  6. Eden, Richard (23 September 2012). "Lone Ranger star Ruth Wilson spies film about her bigamist grandfather". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  7. "Writer, lover, soldier, spy: The strange and secretive life of Alexander Wilson". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  8. Genower, Ellie Ruth is following footsteps of the famous, Manchester Evening News (20 October 2006)
  9. Eyre, Hermione (21 July 2011). "Ruth Wilson on her sizzling summer with Jude Law". Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  10. Nichol, Patricia Something in the Eyre, Times Online (27 May 2007)
  11. "2011 : APPEARANCES". 3 February 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. Hoggard, Liz Ruth Wilson, The Independent (7 October 2006)
  13. Stephen Robb (10 August 2006). "Jane Eyre star's fast-rising fame". BBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  14. Rock, Malcolm 20 Questions With… Ruth Wilson Archived 4 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, What's on Stage (21 May 2007).
  15. Calvi, Nuala Jane Eyre actress Wilson presents Lilian Baylis Awards, The Stage (12 June 2007).
  16. The Doctor Who Hears Voices, Channel 4 website
  17. Past Productions, Donmar Warehouse, archived from the original on 30 December 2009
  18. The Prisoner, Originals, AMC TV
  19. "BBC – Small Island". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  20. 'Luther' Spin-Off Starring Ruth Wilson As Alice Morgan In The Works, The Huffington Post, 9 September 2012
  21. Warner, Sam (23 February 2018). "Luther's Ruth Wilson drops series 5 Alice Morgan hints". Digital Spy.
  22. "In praise of … Ruth Wilson". The Guardian. London. 15 August 2011. p. 30. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  24. Busch, Anita (19 January 2016). "Osgood Perkins' 'I Am The Pretty Things That Lives In The House' Casting Up". Deadline. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  25. Clapp, Susannah (18 December 2016). "Hedda Gabler review – Ruth Wilson shines in Patrick Marber's Ibsen update". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  26. "Ruth Wilson Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre is one of the performances of the year – review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  27. "MrsWilson". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  28. Mrs. Wilson (2018): Full Cast & Crew, IMDb, Undated.Retrieved: 5 December 2018.
  29. Philistines official web page at the National Theatre Archived 28 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2012-02-20.
  30. Billington, Michael (29 July 2009). "Theatre review: A Streetcar Named Desire". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  31. Billington, Michael (17 June 2010). "Through a Glass Darkly". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  32. Kate Kellaway (15 December 2013). "The El Train – review | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  33. "The Mayor of Casterbridge". BBC. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  34. "Top British actors to appear in BBC Radio 3’s autumn drama" 30 August 2009, The Stage
  35. "BBC Radio 4 – Saturday Drama, Mike Walker – Spitfire!". BBC. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  36. "BAFTA TV Award 2007". Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  37. "Nominations for Broadcasting Press Guild 33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards". Broadcasting Press Guild Awards. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  38. "List: Nominations for the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards". Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  39. "Satellite Awards for 2007". Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  40. "Satellite Awards for 2010". Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  41. "Olivier Winners 2010". Society of London Theatre. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  42. "Olivier Winners 2012". Society of London Theatre. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  43. Ellwood, Gregory (11 December 2013). "2015 Golden Globe Awards nominations – complete list". HitFix. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  44. "'Birdman' Leads Satellite Awards Nominations". The Wrap. December 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  45. "2015 Tony Award Nominations". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  46. Millward, Tom (19 October 2017). "2015 Theatre World Awards: And the Winners are..." New York Theater Guide. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  47. Kilday, Gregg (29 November 2016). "Satellite Awards Nominees Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  48. Clarke, Stewart (1 November 2017). "'Lady Macbeth' Tops Nominations for British Independent Film Awards". Variety. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  49. "Olivier Winners 2017". Society of London Theatre. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  50. "Nominations announced: Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards in 2019". 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
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