Ruth Wilson won acclaim for her leading role in the ITV adaptation of Jane Eyre and will be shackled to a moving train by her ankles in the forthcoming remake of The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp. The Olivier Award-winning actress is, however, now plotting her most daunting, and personal, challenge.
Mandrake hears that Wilson is planning to make a film about her grandfather, the MI6 officer and novelist Alexander Wilson, who was exposed as a serial bigamist. “I’m thinking about it,” confirms the 30-year-old actress.
Her grandfather wrote more than 20 espionage novels, mostly featuring the spymaster Leonard Wallace and the agent Hugh Shannon – prototypes of M and James Bond. Wilson did not discover that he had four wives until she was 18 and her grandmother, Alison, let her read a memoir that she had begun writing.
Her grandfather, who had seven children, had been arrested for fraud, for theft and for wearing false military honours. He died an undischarged bankrupt in Ealing, west London, in 1963. “What’s incredible is that these women fell for, and were duped by, Alex, but kept his secrets,” Wilson said.
He raised all his children in the Roman Catholic faith and taught them to be “modest, humble, strong-willed, independent and caring”.