New! Airs Sunday, June 20 and 28 at 8 p.m.
Douglas Petersen is looking forward to a grand tour of Europe with his wife Connie and their only son Albie. It is supposed to be the trip of a lifetime — a last chance for the three of them to spend quality time together before Albie leaves home for university. But things don’t go as Douglas has meticulously planned.
The story opens in suburban Britain, with Douglas and Connie twenty years into their marriage. Out of the blue one night, she wakes up Douglas to announce, “I’ve been thinking about leaving. I think our marriage might be over.” It’s news to Douglas.
Yet all three embark on a grand tour—three weeks, six countries, twelve cities—that is less about museums, monuments and cafes than how family members can’t help driving each other over the edge. Contentious incidents abroad are interspersed with flashbacks to happier days, showing how Douglas and Connie met and fell in love, despite their differences.
Through it all, one thing that keeps Douglas going is his sense of perspective. Visiting the Louvre with Connie and Albie, he contemplates Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa, where a shipwrecked crew is at the height of their suffering, which has included cannibalism. “At least someone is having a worse holiday than us,” he observes.
Tom Hollander (“Baptiste”) and Saskia Reeves (“Roadkill”) star as present-day Douglas and Connie, while Iain De Caestecker (“Roadkill”) and Gina Bramhill (“Sherlock”) play the couple as young lovers. Adapted from David Nicholls’ Booker Prize–nominated novel, “Us” airs in two two-hour episodes on “Masterpiece.”