Truelove – a new six-part "cat and mouse thriller" starring The Wire's Clarke Peters – explores love and death via the thorny subject of assisted dying. Truelove aired on Channel 4 in January in the U.K. — and Brits abroad can watch it from anywhere with a VPN.
At the heart of Truelove are world-weary former police chief Phil (Lindsay Duncan) and divorced special forces vet Ken (Peters), childhood sweethearts for whom the stars never quite aligned.
When the pair reunite at a funeral they soon realize that the passage of time hasn't dampened their attraction. There's just one problem: Phil's husband, Nigel (Phil Davis), a loving companion who lacks Ken's spark.
Still, if anyone would know how to subtly assist the Grim Reaper it would be a former cop, right? But the duo's plans quickly go awry when enthusiastic young detective Ayesha (Black Mirror's Kiran Sonia Sawar) smells a rat. Uh-oh.
Read our guide below for how to watch Truelove online and from anywhere in the world.
Watch Truelove for FREE
How to watch Truelove for FREE on Channel 4
Truelove aired in January on Channel 4, with instalments of the six-episode season airing each Thursday and Wednesday.
Truelove is now available to stream through Channel 4’s FREE on-demand service (with a TV license).
Traveling outside the U.K.? Don't worry — as we explain below, you can watch Truelove live or on-demand by downloading a handy tool called a VPN.
Watch from anywhere
How to watch Truelove online from anywhere with a VPN
Currently off traveling in a country where Channel 4 isn’t available? With the right VPN (Virtual private network), you can continue to access your usual platforms and watch your favorite shows online no matter where in the world you are.
We've evaluated many options, and the best VPN is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more down to a minimum of $6.67).
Using a VPN is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.
2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.
3. Sit back and enjoy the show. Head to Channel 4 and stream new episodes of Truelove online.
Can you watch Truelove in the U.S., Canada or Australia?
As of yet, no plans have been announced to release Truelove in the U.S., Canada or Australia.
For now, anybody currently abroad from the U.K. can use one of the best VPN services to access their usual streaming service. We recommend ExpressVPN thanks to its speed, reliability and trusted security features.
Truelove episode synopsis
Truelove full episode guide
Truelove episode 1
Phil (Philippa) had a long and distinguished career in the police, but is thirteen years retired and bored. Ken, a solitary SAS veteran, feels similarly at sea. They reunite for the first time in years at a friend’s funeral, and – at the drunken wake – talk turns to what a dignified death would look like.
Truelove episode 2
When a body washes up on the shore, Phil and Ken are shaken to their core. And just as they make a concerted attempt to adjust to normal life, a young police officer Ayesha Kareem begins to suspect foul play.
Truelove episode 3
Ayesha can’t let her suspicions about Tom’s death go and becomes convinced she’s found evidence of murder. Meanwhile, Marion’s health deteriorates.
Truelove episode 4
Phil and Ken rekindle their romance and, spurred on by Phil, Ken reconnects with his family. But Ayesha is starting to suspect that her mentor might have something to do with all of these deaths…
Truelove episode 5
Phil’s antennae are raised when she finds out that Marion’s doctor had no idea about her dementia. Meanwhile, Ayesha closes in on Phil.
Truelove episode 6
Phil and Ken are left reeling by the truth about Marion. Phil must do everything she can to save Ken from ruining the rest of his life and make amends for a love she let pass her by 50 years ago.
Everything to know about Truelove
- Lindsay Duncan as Phil
- Clarke Peters as Ken
- Sue Johnston as Marion
- Karl Johnson as Tom
- Peter Egan as David
- Kiran Sonia Sawar as Ayesha
- Phil Davis as Nigel
- Fiona Button as Kate
Who are the main characters in Truelove?
Phil (Lindsay Duncan): Philippa Leach is a retired senior police detective. She had a long and distinguished career in the police. She’s now thirteen years retired and extremely bored. She hates being treated like an old lady and despises feeling invisible.
Ken (Clarke Peters): Kenneth Holding is an old soldier, more specifically, ex-SAS. Ken fell madly in love with Phil and they had a brief romance in their teens, which neither of them really ever got over. He now lives a solitary and contained life, and his only companions are his beloved dog and younger sister Jean.
Ayesha (Kiran Sonia Samar): Ayesha is a uniformed police officer. She might be early in her career but she has a strong moral compass and is a good detective – if only her colleagues would take her seriously. She is desperate to prove herself and get a promotion.
Nigel (Phil Davis): Phil’s husband, Nigel, worked mainly from home, and was able to do most of the childcare when their daughter, Kate, was growing up. Nigel and Phil have had a good, solid marriage, even though there were patches of frustration, and resentment. Now Nigel wants to make the most of the time left together.
Tom (Karl Johnson): Tom is the benevolent father figure of the group. He enjoys an idyllic retirement in his cottage by the sea, and is most content when sailing his beloved boat, The Dawn Treader. When Tom receives a terrible diagnosis and grim prognosis, he accepts that he’s had a blessed life. His final wish is to have a death in the same spirit.
Kate (Fiona Button): Phil and Nigel’s only child and the mother of their grandchildren Alexandra and Albert, Kate has a challenging relationship with Phil. It hurts Kate to see Phil giving the openhanded and unconditional love to Alexandra and Albert which she rarely experienced.
Q&A with Clarke Peters
What is ‘true love’?
That’s a very good question. I think that’s a question that will only be answered by seeing this aspect of what love is. Love is difficult to define. In this instance, true love is taking care of the desires of the people you grew up with and with whom you were in love.
How has it been to have a main group of characters who are slightly older and looking at their relationships and friendships?
Well, it's good because at this age we have different experiences to people who are younger and sometimes we need a different type of support that a younger person can't give us because they have no idea of the journey that we've gone through. So being in a company of older actors, we can support each other like that. We're more patient with each other. If one should forget their lines, we don’t beat each other up or beat ourselves up.
As an actor, how have you tackled combining the difficult themes in the show with the lighter bits?
The tough bits were really tough because we're all actors who really like to live with the truth, and sometimes when going into the depth of the emotions, you find that your body resonates in a different way. It could be hilarity, or it could be devastating grief. There have been times on the set where you move to an emotion and you just have to step away and let yourself grieve. Hopefully the audience will feel that as well. The other side of it is that there's a love story and I have the most beautiful person to fall in love with, and that's easy to do.
Can you tell us a little bit about the relationship between Ken and Phil?
Well, it's a story of unrequited love. Maybe 50 years has passed since that fire was kindled in our hearts. As an adolescent, it's more hormonal than it is emotional. But in this case, I think that because of the time that came up, it was more emotional than it was hormonal, and whatever it was that we lived as teenagers and the things that moulded our characters are still there today. That's what resonates in us and what draws us to each other - some unfinished love. It's not a case of pouncing on someone's bones, so to speak. This is love and it's gentle, caring, nurturing and supportive. Hopefully, as you get older, you'll see that that's what love is about.
How has it been working with this cast?
It's been terrible. These guys are no fun. We don't laugh, we don't giggle, we don't support each other [laughs]. No, I’m joking, it has been a real gas, and as I said before, it has something to do with our ages and understanding where we are on this journey of life. It's a good cast, a good group of people to play with. You can just sit back and let someone follow their intuition and be supportive of that because you know that however they couched the language of what they're trying to achieve, it's going to be brilliant.
Does Ken’s experience in the army influence how he handles the course of events in the show?
Yes, his experience in the army is key. People who have experienced war in the infantry have experience and a play in life that most civilians have never seen except in film. Ken has gone beyond that; he has been special forces. So, his experience of life and death carry with it the post-traumatic shock. A friend of mine was medevacked from Iraq about 20 years ago. One of the things I remember him saying was, they teach us how to do these atrocious things to human beings, but they don't teach us how to come back from that. So even today, 20 years on, and although he appears to be healed, it’s still a part of his life. He went into the service when he was 17 years old and he spent 20 years there, so that's been his whole life. I think that that's been part of Ken's life as well.
What do you hope the audience will take away from Truelove?
People have myriad of opinions about the issues the show is dealing with. Some of them political, some of them spiritual, some practical, some fearful, some unlawful. I have no idea how the audience will react to this. What I would like them to do is sit down and go through the journey with us and then make up their minds afterwards and hopefully spur some conversation. Death is something that everyone's afraid of, and yet we're all racing towards it. It's the most inevitable thing in your lifetime experience.
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Aatif is a freelance journalist and copywriter based in the UK. He’s written about technology, sport and politics for a wide range of publications including TechRadar, What Hi-Fi?, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, and Newsweek. These days, he focuses mainly on streaming at Future, an arrangement that combines two of his greatest passions: live TV and penny-pinching. When he's not attending a top-flight English soccer match, you can find him perfecting his table tennis skills.