Doctor Foster (TV series)

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Doctor Gemma Foster
Written byMike Bartlett
Directed byTom Vaughan (Season 1)
Jeremy Lovering (Season 2)
Opening theme"Fly" by Ludovico Einaudi
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes10
Executive producer(s)
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Drama Republic
Original network
Picture format21:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release9 September 2015 (2015-09-09) –
External links

Doctor Foster is a BBC One drama television series that was first broadcast on 9 September 2015. The five-part series, written by Mike Bartlett, is about Dr Gemma Foster, who suspects that her husband is having an affair. After she follows several lines of enquiry, far more in her life unravels, including a streak of violence below the surface.[1][2][3][4] The storyline was inspired by the ancient myth of Medea, a wronged wife who poisons her husband's new bride and kills their children.[5] The second series started on 5 September 2017 and concluded on 3 October 2017. A third series is highly anticipated, but the future of the series has not been confirmed since the end of the second series in 2017.


Series one

  • Suranne Jones as Gemma Foster, a 37-year-old GP in the town of Parminster, who begins to suspect her husband, Simon, is having an affair
  • Bertie Carvel as Simon Foster, a 40-year-old property developer and Gemma's husband
  • Clare-Hope Ashitey as Carly Williams, a patient of Gemma's, who helps support Gemma, due to her suspicions of Simon[6]
  • Cheryl Campbell as Helen Foster (episodes 1-3)
  • Jodie Comer as Kate Parks, a 23-year-old University graduate who has been secretly having a two-year affair with Simon Foster[7]
  • Navin Chowdhry as Anwar (episodes 2-3, 5)
  • Victoria Hamilton as Anna Baker (episodes 1-3, 5)
  • Tom Taylor as Tom Foster, Gemma and Simon's 13-year-old son
  • Martha Howe-Douglas as Becky Hughes
  • Adam James as Neil Baker (episodes 1-3, 5)
  • Thusitha Jayasundera as Ros Mahendra[8]
  • Sara Stewart as Susie Parks (episodes 1-2, 4-5)
  • Neil Stuke as Chris Parks (episodes 1-2, 4-5)
  • Robert Pugh as Jack Reynolds (episodes 1-2, 4)
  • Ricky Nixon[9] as Daniel Spencer (episodes 1,4)
  • Daniel Cerqueira as Gordon Ward, a hypochondriac who regularly visits Gemma at the medical practice
  • Megan Roberts as Isobel, a friend of Tom's

Series two

  • Suranne Jones as Gemma Foster
  • Bertie Carvel as Simon Foster
  • Tom Taylor as Tom Foster
  • Jodie Comer as Kate Parks (episodes 1-4)
  • Victoria Hamilton as Anna Baker (episodes 1-4)
  • Adam James as Neil Baker (episodes 1-3)
  • Prasanna Puwanarajah as James, Gemma's new love interest (episodes 1-3, 5)
  • Sian Brooke as Siân Lambert, a new Doctor at Gemma's surgery with mysterious links to Simon (episodes 1-2, 4-5)
  • Hope Lloyd as Isobel (episodes 1, 3)
  • Frank Kauer as Max, Tom's best friend (episodes 1-3)
  • Thusitha Jayasundera as Ros Mahendra (episodes 1-3, 5)
  • Joanie Kent as Amelie Foster, Simon and Kate's daughter (episodes 1-4)
  • Daniel Cerqueira as Gordon Ward (episodes 1-2)
  • Helena Lymbery as Mrs Walters, Tom's headteacher (episodes 2-3)
  • Martha Howe-Douglas as Becky Hughes (episode 1)
  • Sara Stewart as Susie Parks (episodes 1, 4)
  • Neil Stuke as Chris Parks (episodes 1, 4)
  • Clare-Hope Ashitey as Carly Williams (episode 4)
  • Philip Wright as Connor, Ros' fiancee and then husband (episodes 1, 3, 5)


Series Episodes Originally aired Average viewers
Series premiere Series finale
1 5 9 September 2015 (2015-09-09) 7 October 2015 (2015-10-07) 9.51
2 5 5 September 2017 (2017-09-05) 3 October 2017 (2017-10-03) 10.20

Series 1 (2015)[edit]

No. Title Director Writer Original airdate Viewers
1"Episode 1"Tom VaughanMike Bartlett9 September 2015 (2015-09-09)9.19
Gemma Foster, a doctor at the Parminster Medical Centre, is happily married to property developer Simon, with whom she has a young son, Tom. One day, she finds a blonde hair on Simon's scarf and suspects him of infidelity, possibly with his assistant Becky. Rather than confront him, she confides in her colleague Ros. At work, she forces elderly doctor Jack Reynolds, who has become an alcoholic, to retire. She does a deal with a young patient, Carly, to give her sleeping pills and get rid of her abusive partner by threatening him and demanding he move out - in return for the patient following Simon.
2"Episode 2"Tom VaughanMike Bartlett16 September 2015 (2015-09-16)9.19
Gemma has discovered that Simon's mistress is Kate Parks, the daughter of one of her patients and that Ros knew of the affair but was bound by patient confidentiality rules. She also establishes that Kate is now pregnant. At a bar, Gemma meets another patient, Anwar, a married lawyer who is keeping the fact that he might have a brain tumour from his family. Encouraged by Jack Reynolds, whom she has reconciled with and talked out of suicide, Gemma confronts Simon but he denies having an affair. But his ailing mother Helen, whose own husband cheated on her, tells Gemma the affair has been going on for two years, and not three months as he had told Ros. Gemma makes an appointment with Anwar, who specialises in divorce.
3"Episode 3"Tom VaughanMike Bartlett23 September 2015 (2015-09-23)9.26
On Anwar's advice, Gemma acts towards Simon as if everything is normal, while investigating his love life and financial affairs through other people. She gets Carly to befriend Kate, and sleeps with then blackmails Simon's accountant Neil. Neil reveals that Simon's big project, the re-development of a school, is a financial black hole and that their joint savings and home would be gone if it were not for a mysterious investor bailing him out. Simon's mother, who had been terminally ill and in pain, ends her life. Gemma decides against divorce because of Simon's distress and vulnerability.
4"Episode 4"Bruce GoodisonMike Bartlett30 September 2015 (2015-09-30)9.35
To Ros's surprise, Gemma stays with Simon, believing his affair is over after Kate had an abortion. However, her work life crumbles after negative comments about her get posted on the Internet, and the police suspect her of involvement in her mother-in-law's death. Carly's boyfriend has also filed a complaint about her for threatening him earlier. Gemma has a breakdown after discovering that Simon is seeing Kate again. She attempts suicide by drowning before finding new strength.
5"Episode 5"Bruce GoodisonMike Bartlett7 October 2015 (2015-10-07)10.57
Gemma contrives to embarrass Kate at an awkward dinner party with the woman's family - where she exposes Simon's infidelity and his financial chicanery. She also reveals that Kate's father, who knew nothing of the affair, is the mysterious investor in Simon's project despite a conflict of interest which makes his involvement unethical. She identifies the accountant Neil's wife as her mysterious online persecutor. When Simon refuses to leave their house and son, Gemma loses control, abducts the child, and returns alone and distressed.

Series 2 (2017)[edit]

No. Title Director Writer Original airdate Viewers
1"Episode 1"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett5 September 2017 (2017-09-05)10.40
Two years after the events of series one, Simon and Kate return to Parminster with their daughter and host a combined housewarming and wedding reception. Despite not being invited, Gemma brings a date, James, to the party and discovers he is her son Tom's teacher. Snooping around the house, Gemma finds a bedroom prepared for Tom, and has a confrontation with Simon in which he implies that he plans to force her out of town. Gemma gives a wedding gift to Kate and leaves with Tom, who seems to be in a state of distress for reasons related to his friend Isobel. After Simon tells him something which causes him to turn against his mother, Tom leaves Gemma's home to go and live with Simon and his new family. Having been unable to stop Simon from taking Tom, a distraught Gemma dissolves her wedding ring in acid and is seen preparing some medical items in her doctor's bag.
2"Episode 2"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett12 September 2017 (2017-09-12)10.27
After Tom's move to Simon's house, Gemma spies on him to find out why he has made a doctor's appointment with new colleague Siân. She visits Tom's best friend, Max, and goes to Simon's new house, only to see Kate kissing a mysterious man. In a drunken state, she confesses her feelings for James at a rave, and encounters Simon outside, who takes a photo of her on his phone. Meanwhile, at Gemma's instigation, Neil meets Simon in an attempt to discover the funding source for his expensive new home. Neil has a one-night stand as a result of Simon's manipulation. Gemma discovers that Simon has a connection to Siân from their university days, and he had suggested that she take the position in Gemma's surgery. After confronting Simon at his workplace, Gemma and Simon are told that Tom is to be excluded from school for attacking Max.
3"Episode 3"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett19 September 2017 (2017-09-19)9.80
Simon escalates his plan to push Gemma out of town, suggesting Tom change schools to one in Simon's own neighbourhood, causing Tom to return to Gemma's house. Simon arrives at the house and the family end up eating dinner together under the pretext of dealing with Tom's school problems. After a failed attempt by Gemma to seduce Simon and record their actions on her mobile phone, the two have sex. Gemma has a chance encounter with Tom's friend Isobel, who reveals that Tom almost raped her at the party, the discovery of which caused the fight between Tom and Max. After telling James about his parents having sex, Tom attempts to move back to his Dad's house, only to find Kate has banned him from there because she now sees him as a potential threat to their child. Anna reveals she is moving to Edinburgh to live with her sister as a result of her marriage to Neil falling apart after infidelity which was indirectly caused by Gemma's machinations. With Ros beginning married life, Tom and Gemma agree that there is no reason for them to remain in Parminster, so they put their house up for rent and leave town.
4"Episode 4"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett26 September 2017 (2017-09-26)10.06
Kate opens a mysterious parcel left at her door to find a tie of Simon's, along with a note from Gemma stating he left it at her house. Her suspicions aroused, she searches Simon's office and finds the picture of the inebriated Gemma on Simon's mobile phone. Under the pretence of viewing the property, Kate visits Gemma's vacated house and discovers where Gemma has gone. Anna tells a disbelieving Kate about Simon's recent sexual encounter with Gemma. Arriving at Gemma's hotel, Kate is surprised to find Gemma is with Kate's parents and daughter, who try to convince Kate that Simon did cheat on her. Whilst maintaining her disbelief to Gemma and her family, Kate later manipulates Simon into confessing. She promises Simon eventual forgiveness, but secretly meets up with Gemma, who insists Simon is repeating his marriage to Gemma with Kate, and urges Kate not to waste her life on him. The next morning, Simon's relationship with Kate comes to an abrupt end. His bank accounts are emptied and he is forced to leave their home, because Kate's father, Chris, has organised things so that he can remove Simon from her life if necessary. After a heated confrontation with Gemma in front of his now-vacated house, Gemma and Simon race to be the first to see Tom at the hotel.
5"Episode 5"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett3 October 2017 (2017-10-03)10.49
Gemma arrives at the hotel before Simon, and takes Tom home. Simon loiters around the house and then a restaurant where Gemma has dinner with Tom, James, Ros and her new husband. Tom breaks down and tells Simon to leave them alone, but later is found by Gemma to be missing from his bed. She rushes to find him and discovers him with Simon at the side of a busy motorway where Simon appears to be on the verge of committing suicide by walking into the traffic. Gemma persuades Simon to come inside with her and Tom and they have breakfast. It is revealed that Gemma suffered post-natal depression after Tom's birth, and Simon telling Tom that she had abandoned him was the reason Tom left Gemma's home. Gemma provides Simon with the drugs she was earlier seen preparing, which will allow him to commit suicide more privately, but she then convinces him not to go through with it for their son's sake. In the meantime, Tom runs away to start a new life without his parents, and the series ends with Gemma looking at pictures of Tom on 'Missing Person' notices.
^1 The ratings over a 28-day period, including the broadcasts on BBC One and streaming through BBC iPlayer.


Various scenes were filmed at the Market Square in Hitchin in Hertfordshire

The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson.[12] The executive producers are Roanna Benn, Greg Brenman, Jude Liknaitzky, and Matthew Read.[13][14] Filming took place in Green Lane, Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, Copse Wood Way, Northwood, London, Enfield and the Market Square in Hitchin in Hertfordshire. The surgery location shoot was at the Chess Medical Centre, in Chesham in Bucks, renamed Parminster Medical Centre for the show. The railway station featured in the show was Enfield Chase station. The scene that features Tom playing football was filmed at the Southgate Hockey Centre, Enfield.

It was announced at the end of Series 1 that the show would return for a second series, with both Suranne Jones and Bertie Carvel.[15] At the 21st National Television Awards Jones announced that the new series began filming in September 2016.

The second series started on 5 September 2017 and concluded on 3 October 2017. The BBC is yet to confirm whether the show will return for a third series although writer Mike Bartlett does not dismiss the possibility.[16]


In general, the show has received acclaim.[17] The opening episode received generally positive reviews from critics, with Lucy Mangan from the Guardian calling it a "gripping portrait of a marriage slowly being poisoned," although Mangan expressed fears of the show descending into "melodrama in the not too distant future".[18] In a review for the Telegraph, Michael Hogan gave the drama four stars out of five, describing it as "an edgy nail-biter" that was "sparkily written by Olivier Award-winner Mike Bartlett", despite a soundtrack that was "overbearing".[19] Victoria Segal of the Sunday Times wrote of the fourth episode that it "clattered unsteadily to its denouement ...this episode is as desperately uneven as the rest of the series, thrashing about between high melodrama and muted misery." Catherine Blythe of the Daily Telegraph bemoaned its "absurd plot" and the lack of "emotional logic" in a series of "melodramatic contortions that required a character who was supposed to be brainy to act like an utter fool".

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2016 National Television Awards New Drama Doctor Foster Won[20]
2016 National Television Awards Drama Performance Suranne Jones Won[20]
2016 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Drama Doctor Foster Nominated[21]
2016 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[22]
2016 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Writer Mike Bartlett Nominated[21]
2016 Royal Television Society Awards Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[23]
2016 British Academy Television Awards Best Mini-series Doctor Foster Nominated[24]
2016 British Academy Television Awards Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[24]


Internationally, the series premiered in Australia on 17 November 2015 on BBC First,[25] in New Zealand on 17 January 2016 on TV One,[citation needed] in France on 15 June 2016 on C8, in Poland on 3 August 2016 on Ale Kino+, in Sweden on 15 August 2016 on SVT1, and in Finland on 28. February 2018 on Yle TV1.[citation needed] The series aired in the US on Lifetime in April 2016 as Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned[26] and began streaming on Netflix in October 2016.[27] In Spain, the series' first installment was first broadcast on Nova in June 2018, and will air again on Antena 3 with two episodes per week as of September 5 and September 6, respectively.[28]


  1. ^ Lambert, Doug (28 February 2014). "BBC Drama unveil new commissions". ATV Today. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  2. ^ Dowell, Ben (28 February 2014). "Lenny Henry to make film about his early life for BBC1". Radio Times. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  3. ^ Hemley, Matthew (28 February 2014). "BBC1 orders new dramas from Lenny Henry and Mike Bartlett". The Stage. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. ^ Plunkett, John (28 February 2014). "David Walliams to star as BBC bags Agatha Christie drama deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  5. ^ Lawson, Mark. "The plot of Doctor Foster is actually 2,500 years old, reveals writer Mike Bartlett". Radio Times.
  6. ^ "Doctor Foster - Carly Williams - BBC One". BBC.
  7. ^ "Doctor Foster - Kate Parks - BBC One". BBC.
  8. ^ "Doctor Foster - Ros Mahendra - BBC One". BBC.
  9. ^ "Ricky Nixon". IMDb.
  10. ^ a b "BARB weekly top 30 programmes". BARB. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  11. ^ Based on 28 day consolidated data from BARB
  12. ^ "BBC One announces new drama series, Doctor Foster". BBC. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  13. ^ Considine, Pippa (28 February 2014). "BBC One orders Drama Republic drama series by Mike Bartlett". Televisual. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  14. ^ Kanter, Jake (28 February 2014). "BBC signs Agatha Christie deal". Broadcast Now. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Doctor Foster to return". BBC. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  16. ^ Dowell, Ben. "Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett: There is "potential" for a third series". Radio Times.
  17. ^ Hastings, Chris (4 October 2015). "Doctor Foster draws to a close with explosive finale". Daily Mail. Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  18. ^ Mangan, Lucy (10 September 2015). "Doctor Foster review – gripping portrait of a marriage slowly being poisoned". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  19. ^ Hogan, Michael (9 September 2015). "Doctor Foster, episode one, BBC One, review: 'an edgy nail-biter'". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  20. ^ a b National Television Awards. "Winners — National Television Awards".
  21. ^ a b Kanter, Jake. "Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: Why in the Age Of Netflix, TV Has Still Got Its Mojo". Huffington Postdate=11 February 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  22. ^ Plunkett, John (11 March 2016). "Wolf Hall's Mark Rylance wins best actor at Broadcasting Press Guild awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  23. ^ Delgado, Kasia (23 March 2016). "Lenny Henry, Michaela Coel and Suranne Jones triumph at the Royal Television Society Awards 2016". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Doctor Foster's Suranne Jones wins TV Bafta for Leading Actress". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  25. ^ Purcell, Charles (12 November 2015). "New This Week (Nov 16): Into The Badlands, Jane The Virgin, Kardashians, V8s and live sports". The Green Room. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  26. ^ Hale, Mike (8 April 2016). "Review: 'Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned,' an Infidelity Drama From Lifetime". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Is 'Doctor Foster' on Netflix in America?". New on Netflix. October 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  28. ^ "'Doctora Foster': Antena 3 emitirá en prime time la aclamada serie de Reino Unido tras su gran éxito en Nova". FormulaTV. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2018.

External links[edit]