Doctor Foster (TV series)

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Doctor Foster
Genre
Written byMike Bartlett
Directed by
  • Tom Vaughan (series 1)
  • Jeremy Lovering (series 2)
Starring
Opening theme"Fly" by Ludovico Einaudi
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
Running time60 minutes
Production companyDrama Republic
Release
Original network
Picture format21:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release9 September 2015 (2015-09-09) –
3 October 2017 (2017-10-03)
External links
Website

Doctor Foster is a BBC One television drama series that was first broadcast on 9 September 2015. Created and written by Mike Bartlett, the series is about Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones), a doctor who suspects her husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) is having an affair. After she follows several lines of enquiry, her life unravels from what secrets she finds.[1][2][3][4] The storyline was inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Medea, a wronged wife who kills her children and poisons her husband's new bride.[5] Internationally, the series was brought to many countries by different networks (see Broadcast).

The second series of the show started on 5 September 2017 and concluded on 3 October 2017. A future third series has been played down by lead actress Jones, citing incompatibility of schedules.[6] Bartlett has said while there is more to explore with Gemma Foster's story, he would bring the show back only if there were a vital story to be told, with no immediate plans for a return.[7] He did, however, write a spin-off, Life, featuring the character of Anna Baker from the first two series.

Cast[edit]

Series one

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' fiancée and then husband (episodes 1, 3, 5)

Episodes[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired Average viewers
(millions),1
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
(millions)[12][13],1
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 and Simon at an awkward dinner party with her family - where she exposes Simon's infidelity and his financial misdeeds. She also reveals that Kate's father, who knew nothing of the affair, is the mysterious investor in Simon's project despite having a conflict of interest by being a council member. She identifies the accountant Neil's wife as her mysterious online persecutor. When Simon refuses to leave their house Gemma loses control, picks Tom up from school, and drives off with him. Later, Tom and Carly return to the house but after giving Simon the impression that she has harmed Tom, it enrages him, and he slams her against the glass door knocking her unconscious. At a later time, Simon and Kate moved to London after Gemma successfully puts a restraining order against him. The episodes end with Gemma helping a victim with cardiac arrest while Tom assists her.

Series 2 (2017)[edit]

No. Title Director Writer Original airdate Viewers
(millions)[12]
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 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 into Simon's house, Gemma spies on him to find out why he has made a doctor's appointment with new colleague Siân. After several prickly office interactions and an awkward dinner, Gemma learns some details. At Gemma's instigation, Neil meets Simon in an attempt to discover information on his newfound wealth but is lured into a one-night stand by one of Simon's colleagues. Neil tells Gemma that Simon hates her and wants to destroy her. Gemma visits Tom's best friend, Max to learn her son's secrets. Later, she goes to Simon's new house and see Kate kissing a mysterious man. She goes to a pub and begins to drink very heavily and after a surprise run-in with Simon outside the pub he takes a photo of her on his phone to use as leverage with Tom. Meanwhile, 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 expelled 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. After retrieving Tom from the principal's office, he reveals that the reason for the fight with Max was because of the bullying Simon had done to Isobel's mum, Becky when she worked for Simon. Later, Simon arrives at the house, but lies to Kate about his whereabuts. The family have dinner together under the pretext of dealing with Tom's school problems which leads to Simon and Gemma having sex. The next day, Simon forwards a video clip of Tom arguing at a cafe and flipping a table. Gemma looks through Tom's phone and finds phots of a budding romance between Isobel and Tom. Gemma spots Isobel in the cafe, who reveals that Tom sexually assaulted her at the party which is the true cause of the fight between Tom and Max. Tom finds refuge at Anna's. Gemma doesn't understand how Tom could assault a woman and she later learns that Simon knew about the sexual assault. Tom confides his shame and self-loathing to Gemma. They agree that leaving Parminster is the best solution for both.
4"Episode 4"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett26 September 2017 (2017-09-26)10.06
Kate finds an envelope on her doorstep, containing a note from Gemma and the tie Simon left at her house. Kate confronts him but he denies anything happened. Kate finally opens the wedding gift from Gemma, revealing a note. She drops Amelie at her parents' house and after leaving university, she runs into Carly again. Kate accuses Carly of dropping off the note; Carly simply asks if Simon could have slept with Gemma again. Her suspicions aroused, Kate searches Simon's phone and finds the picture of the inebriated Gemma. She visits Gemma's Gemma's vacated house, where Anna tells her that she heard Simon and Gemma having sex last week. A flashback to earlier part of the day reveals that Gemma contacted Kate's mum. Arriving at Gemma's hotel, Kate is surprised to find Gemma, her parents and her daughter, who try to convince Kate that Simon did cheat on her. After a sleepless night, Kate secretly meets Gemma at her house, who shows her data points to prove Simon is replicating his marriage to Gemma with Kate and pleads with her not to waste her life on him. The next morning, Simon finds that he can't access the ATM, can't find his business partner, and receives a message from Kate to come home. He finds movers at his house and Kate's parents, her Godfather helping Kate move. Gemma pulls up to the house which enrages Simon.
5"Episode 5"Jeremy LoveringMike Bartlett3 October 2017 (2017-10-03)10.49

Gemma arrives at the hotel just as Simon arrives, and takes Tom to their empty house ... a blank slate to build a new home. Simon arrives at the house, prompting a driveway conversation. Tom clearly doesn't know who or what to believe, but recognizes Simon's manipulation and lies.

Gemma reflects on the hours before she learned her world would turn upside down. Gemma and Tom join James, Ros and her new husband for dinner. Simon appears, banging the restaurant window, and pleads for mutual absolution and reconciliation ... or threatens suicide (again). Tom interrupts to call out Simon's long history of lies and failures.

After dinner, James returns to the house with Gemma, proposing a fresh start to their relationship. Tom asks about Gemma's dead parents. Tom is worried about how Simon will persist, unless HE is dead. Gemma reflects on another pre-disaster conversation with Simon.

Gemma wakes to hear footsteps and a taxi driving away, and finds Tom missing from bed. When James attempts to calm her down, Gemma dismisses the relationship. Gemma reaches Tom, Simon hijacks the call, and Gemma intuits they're back at the hotel. She finds them on 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. Tom speaks of an optimistic future, while Simon weeps, consumed with self-hate. Simon prompts the reveal of the wedge he planted with Tom: That Gemma suffered post-natal depression after Tom's birth and abandoned him. Tom thinks that's why Gemma worked so much: to avoid spending time with him. Simon suggests Gemma's work is why he started the affair with Kate. Gemma provides Simon with the drugs she was earlier seen preparing, which will allow him to commit suicide with more privacy. Simon continues to toxically manipulate Tom. Gemma and Tom leave; Simon begins the process, Tom weeps ... and Gemma returns to the hotel room to convince Simon not to go through with it for their son's sake. Gemma offers a couple of framed pictures and Simon agrees not to use the drugs.

Gemma checks her voicemails; Tom has been readmitted to school, sounds like she has her job back. But while in the hotel, Tom has disappeared. In another voicemail, Tom says he's going to start a new life, without his parents. The series ends with Gemma agonizing over 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.

Production[edit]

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

The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson.[14] The executive producers are Roanna Benn, Greg Brenman, Jude Liknaitzky, and Matthew Read.[15][16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

Reception[edit]

In general, the show has received acclaim. 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".[19] In a review for The Daily 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".[20]

Less enthusiastically, 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 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".

Accolades
Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2016 National Television Awards New Drama Doctor Foster Won[21]
Drama Performance Suranne Jones Won[21]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Drama Doctor Foster Nominated[22]
Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[23]
Best Writer Mike Bartlett Nominated[22]
Royal Television Society Awards Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[24]
British Academy Television Awards Best Mini-series Doctor Foster Nominated[25]
Best Actress Suranne Jones Won[25]
2018 National Television Awards Drama Performance Suranne Jones Won
Drama Doctor Foster Won

Broadcast[edit]

Internationally, the series premiered in Australia on 17 November 2015 on BBC First,[26] 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[27] and began streaming on Netflix in October 2016.[28] In Spain, the series' first instalment was first broadcast on Nova in June 2018, and will air again on Antena 3 with two episodes per week as of 5 September and 6 September, respectively.[29]

In South Korea, Doctor Foster aired on KBS 1TV from 25 January 2016 to 9 January 2018. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the immense popularity of its local adaptation which aired on JTBC, the latter will re-air Doctor Foster following the end of the local adaptation. Graceful Friends, the drama that was supposed to air after the local adaptation, was pushed back to July 2020.[30]

Adaptations[edit]

Country Local title Network Original release
 France Infidèle
Unfaithful
TF1 7 January – November 2019
 Russia Скажи правду
Tell truth
Russia-1 11–14 March 2019
 India Out of Love[31] Hotstar 22 November 2019 – 14 May 2021
 South Korea The World of the Married[32][33] JTBC 27 March – 16 May 2020
 Turkey Sadakatsiz[34]
Unfaithful
Kanal D 7 October 2020 – present
 Philippines The Broken Marriage Vow[35][36] Kapamilya Channel (ABS-CBN)
A2Z
TV5
January 24, 2022

Spin-off[edit]

In 2020, BBC One broadcast the spin-off series Life, similarly written by Mike Bartlett and with Victoria Hamilton reprising her role as the character of Anna Baker, now known as "Belle Stone", living in a converted house in Manchester, England. The series also featured Anna's ex-husband Neil Baker (played again by Adam James).[37]

References[edit]

  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. ^ Robinson, Abby (28 August 2019). "Doctor Foster season 3: why we won't see it any time soon". Digital Spy.
  7. ^ "Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett says there's still more to Gemma Foster's story". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Doctor Foster - Carly Williams - BBC One". BBC.
  9. ^ "Doctor Foster - Kate Parks - BBC One". BBC.
  10. ^ "Doctor Foster - Ros Mahendra - BBC One". BBC.
  11. ^ "Ricky Nixon". IMDb.
  12. ^ a b "BARB weekly top 30 programmes". BARB. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  13. ^ Based on 28 day consolidated data from BARB
  14. ^ "BBC One announces new drama series, Doctor Foster". BBC. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  15. ^ Considine, Pippa (28 February 2014). "BBC One orders Drama Republic drama series by Mike Bartlett". Televisual. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  16. ^ Kanter, Jake (28 February 2014). "BBC signs Agatha Christie deal". Broadcast Now. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Doctor Foster to return". BBC. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  18. ^ Dowell, Ben. "Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett: There is "potential" for a third series". Radio Times.
  19. ^ Mangan, Lucy (10 September 2015). "Doctor Foster review – gripping portrait of a marriage slowly being poisoned". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  20. ^ Hogan, Michael (9 September 2015). "Doctor Foster, episode one, BBC One, review: 'an edgy nail-biter'". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b National Television Awards. "Winners — National Television Awards". nationaltvawards.com.
  22. ^ a b Kanter, Jake (11 February 2016). "Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: Why in the Age Of Netflix, TV Has Still Got Its Mojo". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  23. ^ Plunkett, John (11 March 2016). "Wolf Hall's Mark Rylance wins best actor at Broadcasting Press Guild awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ a b "Doctor Foster's Suranne Jones wins TV Bafta for Leading Actress". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Hale, Mike (8 April 2016). "Review: 'Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned,' an Infidelity Drama From Lifetime". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Is 'Doctor Foster' on Netflix in America?". New on Netflix. October 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  29. ^ "'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.
  30. ^ JTBC, '부부의 세계' 끝나면 원작 '닥터 포스터' 내보낸다. JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean).
  31. ^ Out of Love - Trailer on YouTube
  32. ^ Jo, Hye-ryun (12 February 2020). "'부부의 세계' 1차 포스터 공개…치명적이고 강렬한 '김희애 클래스'". TV Report (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  33. ^ Sun, Mi-kyung (19 February 2020). "'부부의 세계' 김희애X박해준, 아슬하고 치명적인 숨멎 2차 포스터 공개[Oh!쎈 컷]". Osen (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  34. ^ "Doctor Foster geliyor". Archived from the original on 3 September 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  35. ^ News, ABS-CBN (13 April 2021). "ABS-CBN to produce PH adaptation of BBC Studios' 'Doctor Foster'". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  36. ^ News, ABS-CBN (12 May 2021). "Original 'Doctor Foster' creators 'couldn't be happier' with ABS-CBN's vision for PH remake". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  37. ^ The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/sep/29/life-review-hopes-and-heartaches-behind-closed-doors

External links[edit]