Part of BREMF@home


Written and produced by Clare Norburn
Directed by Nicholas Renton


Rachael Stirling

as Emilia

Alec Newman

as Giovanni

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 will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook in real-time, a year on from the point in 2020. The series can be viewed in its entirety from 23 – 31 May 2021.

These shows are available to watch for free but we would really appreciate any donations so we can pay our musicians.


March 2021

Thursday 4th 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?

Friday 5th 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…

Tuesday 23rd March, 8pm

Episode 3

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

Wednesday 24th 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.

April 2021

Thursday 15th 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. 

May 2021

Wednesday 5th 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?

Thursday 13th May, 6pm

Episode 7

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

Saturday 15th May, 11am

Episode 8

Giovanni must finally tell Emilia the truth.

Sunday 23rd 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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The Telling is a Registered Charity (number 1181802)

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