Masterpiece: Elizabeth is Missing

Rochester, NY -- Two-time Academy Award®–winner Glenda Jackson (A Touch of Class, Women in Love) stars as a woman desperately trying to solve two mysteries as she declines ever deeper into dementia, in Masterpiece: Elizabeth is Missing, an adaptation of Emma Healey’s acclaimed novel, airing Sunday, January 3, 2021 at at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Returning to television for the first time in nearly three decades, Jackson won a BAFTA and an International Emmy for her performance in Elizabeth is Missing. She also astounded critics during the UK broadcast in late 2019. “Glenda Jackson shines in this heartrending whodunnit” (The Guardian); “Jackson gave one of the performances of her lifetime” (The Daily Telegraph); “Jackson is remarkable” (The Independent); “a devastatingly real performance” (The Times); “brilliant” (Radio Times).

Playing feisty grandmother Maud Horsham, who lives alone despite early-stage Alzheimer’s, Jackson is joined by Maggie Steed (Paddington 2) as Maud’s only friend, Elizabeth, who ominously goes missing, leading to one of the mysteries at the heart of the drama. Helen Behan (The Virtues) plays Maud’s dutiful daughter, Helen, and Nell Williams (Blinded by the Light) is Maud’s doting granddaughter, Katy.

The other mystery in Maud’s mind is a puzzle from her past, kindled when she unearths the top of an old cosmetics compact while gardening with Elizabeth. The discovery takes Maud back to her teenaged self (played by Liv Hill, The Little Stranger). Like many younger siblings, Maud looked up to her big sister, Sukey (Sophie Rundle, Gentleman Jack), considering her the height of glamour; plus she had a crush on her sister’s husband, Frank (Mark Stanley, Sanditon). This childhood idyll ended with Sukey’s failure to come home one night in 1949, never to be seen again. As Maud thinks back on it, she wonders if the family’s lodger at the time, Douglas (Neil Pendleton, In Plain Sight), had anything to do with Sukey’s vanishing. And the cryptic warnings from the long-ago mad woman with the umbrella (Cara Kelly, Trust Me) only deepen the riddle.

In her increasingly disoriented perception, the disappearances of Sukey and now Elizabeth get mixed up—like the jigsaw puzzle that Maud flings to the floor. She attacks the problem with a system she uses around the house: sticky notes, posted everywhere, documenting daily reminders to herself—mostly about locking the door or turning off the stove, but also recording her meetings with Elizabeth and chance observations. Maud’s granddaughter, Katy, helps her arrange the notes. “Imagine you’re like a detective looking at clues,” Katy says helpfully. “You have to start at the beginning, and you have to be logical.” And she is logical—by her own standards. As memories, clues, and deductions pile up, viewers come to see the world as Maud does, and to solve the mystery as this tenacious, vision-haunted sleuth does.

Photo: Glenda Jackson as Maud
Credit: Courtesy of STV Productions


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.


WXXI Media Contact:

Kristin Tutino

Creative Services Department



Go to the NPR Pressroom

Go to the PBS Pressroom

Get logos for Media Use

Read our Media Policy

Radio Archives

TV Archives