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Written and produced by Clare Norburn
Directed by Nicholas Renton



Rachael Stirling

as Emilia

Alec Newman.jpg

Alec Newman

as Giovanni

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Leila Mimmack

as Venetia


Jon Culshaw

as Boris Johnson

Suzanne Ahmet as News Announcer/Giovanni’s Mum

Teresa Banham as Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer

Anna Demetriou as Chantelle

Patience Tomlinson as Esme


The Telling as Emilia's ensemble:
Clare Norburn voice
Ariane Prüssner voice, medieval harp, percussion
Joy Smith harps and percussion
Jorge Jimenez Vielle

Love in the Lockdown follows medieval musician Emilia and playwright Giovanni in the early stages of an intense relationship, which starts with awkward early Zoom dates just before lockdown.

Over 3 months, the separated lovers get closer and work on a project together, inspired by the book The Decameron by Boccaccio. Boccaccio placed The Decameron as a “14th Century box set” of 100 stories told by young people to while away their quarantine during the Black Death in Florence in 1348. Giovanni plans to reimagine The Decameron, drawing out parallels with the COVID-19 pandemic, while Emilia and her ensemble, played by The Telling, plan the music.


They put together films of music from the 14th century by Guillaume de Machaut, Johannes Ciconia, Francesco Landini, Gherardello da Firenze and anon, which will form part of the final show.

But a number of forces are at work to challenge the lovers and test their relationship – not least Giovanni’s wayward mother and Venetia Lemming-Brown, a TV Commissioning Editor who wants to sprinkle the show with TV magic, which means no medieval music – and no Emilia.

Directed and filmed entirely over Zoom by actors and musicians on their phones and recording devices.

Each episode was originally streamed on YouTube and Facebook in real-time, a year on from the point in 2020. The series is re-released periodically.

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Recommended 4 times in The Times & The Sunday Times Culture Noticeboard


"at least as appealing as Tennant & Sheen in the BBC’s Staged"



"charming...already a little hooked"

Patrick Marmion in Daily Mail


"There have been plenty of Zoom plays over this year of lockdown, but perhaps none so classy and assured as Clare Norburn’s episodic series'"

The Reviews Hub

"music is absolutely beautiful"


"virtual format we’ve not seen before"

West End Best Friend

"emotional subtlety… this moreish serial drama finds new terrain with excellent performances from Rachael Stirling and Alec Newman"

"this intelligent Zoom performance does more than reflect overfamiliar pandemic situations back at us"

"the series becomes moreish precisely because it is so gentle. Stirling and Newman are understatedly excellent and their characters feel real"

"five episodes in, it shows signs of developing into an exploration of the boundaries between art and life"

"the music is like a celestial pause between acts"

"the relationship is drawn with emotional subtlety; Stirling and Newman are good at expressing vulnerability or romantic hope"

The Guardian

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Thursday 4 March, 2pm 

Episode 1

As Giovanni waits for Emilia on Zoom, he begins to question whether she's interested in exploring a romance or is she just interested in an artistic collaboration with him?

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Wednesday 24 March, 5.15pm

Episode 4

Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer suggests couples who don't live together should "test really carefully their strength of feeling", while Emilia takes stock.

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Thursday 13 May, 6pm

Episode 7

As Robert Jenrick announces the first easing of lockdown, Giovanni drives across London to Emilia's flat. 

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Friday 5 March, 6pm

Episode 2

The first UK death from coronavirus is announced as Giovanni logs on to talk to Emilia. But during the call, Giovanni receives an urgent phone call which brings the threat of the virus close to home…

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Thursday 15 April, 5pm

Episode 5

As dire UK Economy predictions are announced, Giovanni and Emilia discuss plans for their Decameron collaboration. Emilia has some news and Giovanni's Mum has her own agenda. 

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Saturday 15 May, 11am

Episode 8

Giovanni must finally tell Emilia the truth.

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Tuesday 23 March, 8pm

Episode 3

As Boris Johnson announces Lockdown, Giovanni & Emilia share a candlelit dinner over Zoom.

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Wednesday 4 May, 10am

Episode 6

As news hits that Neil Ferguson has met his married lover during the Lockdown, Giovanni is in an online meeting with Venetia, a TV Commissioning editor. But where is Emilia?

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Sunday 23 May, 7pm

Episode 9

While Dominic Cummings is in hot water, Giovanni lands his first TV contract. But now he has it, is it what he really wants? Meanwhile, Emilia has an important decision to make.

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