BBC One’s Doctor Foster – absurdly glamorous and dramatic post-truth era TV

This drama about an implausibly flash GP and her dodgy ex is gleefully preposterous. Lucy Sweet opens a bottle of wine and just goes along with it

The year 2017 has been one of gobsmacking global incredulity. A great morass of WTF moments, each more difficult to comprehend than the last.

So the second series of Doctor Foster (BBC One) fits in as comfortably as Trump or Brexit, and almost has the same cumulative effect after witnessing it; namely making you shout ‘DON’T BE F****** RIDICULOUS!’ over and over again until you fall into a fitful, dreamless sleep on a sofa covered in comfort food crumbs.

Unlike Donald and Theresa, though, it’s fun. It’s absurdly glamorous and dramatic, made all the more amusing by the fact it’s about a GP. Played by Queen of Fair-to-Middling TV Drama, Suranne Jones, Dr Gemma Foster looks like a catwalk model and lives in a house that must cost a fortune (with panoramic, curtain-free windows that are rather convenient to the plot). If she was real, she’d be seeing 100 patients a day, wiping away her anxiety tears on NHS prescription paper and going home to eat a ready meal over the bin.

But reality has no place in Doctor Foster. It is gleefully, wilfully preposterous. Gemma’s ex, Simon, the kind of arsehole you end up sitting next to at the wedding of a friend of a friend in a country house hotel, is back in fictional Parminster, and he is strangely rich. He’s also a very bad, manipulative man, who cheated on Gemma with a younger woman, lied about it and then knocked her out after she outed his infidelity at a dinner party. He’s not finished trying to destroy her. But hold on. Gemma loves a bit of crazy drama, has a Sauvignon Blanc problem, a motive, AND unbridled access to the medicine cabinet!

It’s essentially an epic Gold Blend advert with added murderous revenge

All the people in it are truly awful, too. When they aren’t giving each other meaningful looks, they’re saying clipped, stagey dialogue that makes your eyeballs fall out and roll across the room. The script is by proper playwright Mike Bartlett, but Gemma and Simon speak like an algorithm generated by combining Large Print Mills and Boon erotica with half-remembered transcripts of Howard’s Way. “We should talk.” “Get out!’” “How did you – ?” Gemma’s potential new love interest, James, who is Not All He Seems, speaks like that too.


No matter though, because the main characters in Doctor Foster are not the people, but the nice kitchens and the panoramic windows and the large glasses of booze that Dr Foster glugs, which definitely contravene the recommended 14 units a week. It’s essentially an epic Gold Blend advert with added murderous revenge. But hey, this is the post-truth era – nothing makes sense any more, so just open the wine and go along with it.