The Split

The Split: the BBC legal drama is back and Nicola Walker has just revealed what complicated relationship dynamics we can expect

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The highly-anticipated third and final season of BBC legal drama The Split is coming back to our screens tonight and Nicola Walker has just revealed what difficult decisions the Defoe family will face.

From the searingly sensual Scenes From A Marriage to the dark noir thriller Lie With Me, we can’t help but love good TV that puts our most intimate relationships under the microscope.

So a steamy BBC legal drama about high-flying divorce lawyers who, you guessed it, end up navigating their own messy separation? Sign us up.

The Split was one of the most watched drama series on BBC iPlayer in 2020 – so the news that the TV show is returning to our screens tonight at 9pm is definitely music to our ears.

Now, we finally have an idea of what we can expect from the drama and its relationships. Speaking to the BBC, Nicola Walker, who plays Hannah, revealed that a new love interest, Kate (Spooks’ Lara Pulver), will further complicate the relationship between Hannah and Nathan in the midst of their divorce. And there’s one scene in particular that speaks to the pain of the unexpected discovery.

“It’s one of the most horrific meal scenes I’ve ever read,” Walker explained when asked how Hannah reacts to finding out that Kate is a potential love interest for Nathan. “There’s a great history of difficult dinners in drama, this is one of the greats. Abi has put Hannah in possibly one of the most excruciating positions any person could find themselves in – when Hannah meets Kate she didn’t realise that Nathan was seeing somebody. 

“The cherry on the cake is that Kate is incredibly successful, intelligent, beautiful and a great deal younger, and all of this revelation takes place while trying to eat food with chopsticks, which I think is a beautiful touch from Abi Morgan.”

The Split
Nicola Walker as Hannah and Stephen Mangan as Nathan in BBC One's The Split.

The recurring theme of ‘women having it all’ is further explored in these new episodes, with Walker explaining that she finds it an “awful phrase”.

“No-one can have it all, no man, no woman, no-one! I think Hannah’s got to the age where she’s way past believing in clichés like ‘having it all’. She’s worried about having it OK for her family and herself and for Nathan. She’s at a different stage in her life. 

“Yes, she has a very successful career – it looked perfect from the outside in season one, didn’t it – perfect marriage, perfect children!

“But she’s no fool is Hannah, she knows that that doesn’t exist because of the people who come through her office door every day. What looks perfect on the outside, you scratch it and it’s all very complicated, irrespective of your economic bracket. 

“Her job has taught her that and unfortunately her own life has taught her that over the three seasons. It’s not that Hannah’s become accepting of that, she’s getting up off the floor and thinking, OK, well how do you live with that? 

“She navigates her way through it in a very grown-up and positive way. Not everything goes the way she thinks it will and not everything goes the way Nathan thinks it will. It’s very equal, the desire from both of them to make it work.”

The Split Nicola Walker
Nicola Walker stars as Hannah in The Split.

Ahead of the release of the third and final season on 4 April 2022, the BBC has also released some tantalisingly tense new images and a new trailer. 

Per the official synopsis: “Set in the fast-paced, complex world of London’s high-end divorce circuit, The Split is an authentic, multi-layered, witty examination of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce.”

“Following the messy lives of the three Defoe sisters, Hannah (Unforgotten’s Walker), Nina (Annabel Scholey) and Rose (Fiona Button) and their formidable mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay), writer Abi Morgan is set to conclude the trilogy with the most dramatic and heartbreaking series to date as we watch a divorce lawyer confronted by her very own separation.”

The Split
The Split: Stephen Mangan as Nathan

“Adding fuel to the fire, Christie (Barry Atsma), will also return to the final series, which sees Hannah and Nathan’s formerly rock-solid marriage unravel as they try to come to an amicable separation agreement.

As Hannah and Nathan (Stephen Mangan) begin to divide up their twenty years together, Hannah faces what she is about to lose and a shocking revelation dramatically changes the stakes. As the battlelines are redrawn, we wonder if their dream of achieving the “good divorce” is even possible. Will they find a path through the wreckage, or is The Split simply too deep to repair?”

The Split
The Split season 3: Nicola Walker as Hannah

The series is penned by award-winning writer Abi Morgan OBE, who is best known for her work including, River, The Hour, Suffragette and The Iron Lady, which starred Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

However, season three of The Split is Morgan’s first time behind the camera as she makes her directorial debut in a particularly dramatic episode. The rest of the series is lead by Bridgerton and The Crown’s Dee Koppang O’Leary, leaving very big dramatic shoes to fill.

The Split
The Split season 3: Lara Pulver as Kate

Speaking about her directorial debut, Morgan commented: “So much of a writer’s life is solitary that it has been a complete joy to direct and to finally get to work with the brilliant cast and crew and be part of the magic that happens between first read through and final edit that I normally don’t get to see. Terrifying as I have worked with some truly great directors in my time, but it was a pleasure to join The Split directorial team helmed by Dee Koppang O’Leary. Having tried it I hope it won’t be my last time”. 

The Split
The Split season 3: Barry Atsma as Christie

When will season three of The Split be available to watch?

All episodes will also be available on BBC iPlayer from 4 April 2022. In the meantime, series one and two are available on BBC iPlayer to stream now.

Watch the trailer here:

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Images: BBC

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