Doctor Who ~ Series 11 ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’

I’m late to the Doctor Who party, although I did watch the first episode of the brand new series ‘live’! I for one was delighted that a female doctor had been chosen when Capaldi hung up the sonic screwdriver so my eagerness to see Jodie Whittaker in the role was bubbling over. The latest instalment not only did not disappoint, but Whittaker has brought a whole new persona to the doctor which hardly relates to the gender at all. There was also a stellar cast to back up the new recruit and it looks as though some famous faces are set to grace our screens in upcoming episodes too, including Phyllis Logan! Here are a few highlight of an episode jam-packed with goodness.

Jodie Whittaker

The arrival of the new doctor was typically chaotic, straight in through the roof of a train without so much as a bye your leave! From the outset Whittaker established the character as whacky, nonchalant, determined and with the kindness streak still flowing freely. I loved the throw away comment of her being an alien, the desire to be a friend to the crowd she found herself mixing with and the clumsiness. One of the defining moments was the costume selection in the charity shop! Chris Chibnall is undoubtedly a fine choice of writer for the series and hand in hand with Whittaker at the helm, there’s a short-hand here that will enhance the much-loved series further.

New Friends

I’d been dubious about Bradley Walsh taking on the coveted role of the companion, however, as Graham he has already shown what a superb sidekick he could be and the chemistry with Whittaker is already palpable in my humble opinion. Sharon D Marshall as his wife of three years was also a superb addition – it’s a pity it was a short-lived role. However, with Graham’s backstory including Cancer and now the death of his wife, he’s got a lot of personal experiences to bring to the table. Setting his back story up so early on will surely make sense of his reactions as we move through each story. He’s a steady influence too, which never hurts when you’re supporting the doctor!

Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) also seem to be a strong addition, each one having suffered loss and with a desire to embrace whatever life throws. Ryan might be a loose cannon though, which might be frustrating and exciting in equal measure, while I’m anticipating a more sensible approach from Yaz. It’s a team de force so far, with the doctor they make a formidable foursome!

 

Alienated

The alien enemy featured in this episode both fascinated and frightened me! It was a sight to behold once the armour was removed and the powers were believable too, as a sci-fi villain he was captivating and almost gained my sympathy once or twice – wholly unexpected.

Chibnall’s Vision

Chris Chibnall has fast become one of my best-loved drama writers, from back in the days of Sunday evening BBC favourite ‘Born and Bred‘ to the mighty ‘Broadchurch‘, his vision is one I can always get on board with and that I enjoy dissecting. By taking the reigns of Doctor Who he’s adding his uncanny ability to characterise a role fully to an already winning formula. His history with Whittaker from the ‘Broadchurch‘ series makes for the right combination to drive forward the new concept of casting a female in the title role for the very first time. So far so good, too!

Catch up here: 

Doctor Who on BBC iplayer

Photo credits: BBC

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Trust Me, Series One, Episode Three ~ Review

Another episode of Trust Me has been and gone, so it’s over to resident Guest Blogger, Chloe Buckles to fill us in on the latest instalment!

The penultimate episode of this series didn’t disappoint! But if you’re of a nervous disposition you may want to look away now because this episode gave us emotional heartbreak, plenty of blood and yet more unanswered questions!

Having done his research now into ‘Dr Ally’/Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker), Andy Brenner (Emun Elliot) is quick to realise that his new girlfriend is not all she seems to be. After a frosty shift together, which gets everyone suspicious given that Cath has just lost her father, Andy invites Cath to a secluded and somewhat bleak part of the Scottish countryside where he finally calls her out on her identity deception. The biggest surprise here was that although he is obviously angry at what Cath has been doing – pretending to be her doctor-pal Ally – he appears on the surface to be supporting her. But all isn’t quite sitting right with this partnership now, and Andy persuades Cath to move in with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is far more to his story still to come, even with just one more episode to go. With his help, Cath seems to be becoming an even more convincing of a doctor as he helps her get up to speed on some of the more complex procedures. Is he just setting Cath up so he can be the one to take the fall out and the glory for having uncovered it himself? Or is he genuinely in love with her and only wants to see her succeed?

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER), Dr Andy Brenner (EMUN ELLIOTT) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

Back in Sheffield, Karl (Blake Harrison) smells a rat. He’s told that Cath has been spreading lies about their relationship and telling people that he had been violent and we learn from him that Cath is not known for being deceptive and lying. This information into her character added to the enormity of what she is currently doing and coupled with her encounter with Andy earlier we realise how the main driving force in her motivation is to ensure that daughter Molly has the best life, and the best potential life, she can. But Karl is heading to Edinburgh to confront Cath – will he be the one to out her identity to the rest of her colleagues?

Later in the episode we see things really begin to spiral into difficulty for Cath. A very busy shift on A&E with her line manager Brigitte (Sharon Small) means everyone is against it and Brigitte is putting pressure on Cath to get through their patients as quickly as possible. With emergencies en route and patients stacking up all around them, Cath begrudgingly succumbs to Brigitte’s pressure of letting her patient with the dental abscess go home instead of being checked out further.

This was only ever going to lead to one moment, and from the moment Mr Abscess walked in it was clear it wasn’t going to end well for him. Sure enough, he is readmitted later on with an obstructed airway and he’s in a bad way. With Brigitte panicking because she knows she encouraged his discharge and unable to get an airway in Cath is forced to step up. At this point we really see Brigitte struggle and you get a real picture of how much she is out of her depth in her role – she certainly came across to the viewer as very vulnerable. Forced to perform a surgical airway under pressure Cath eventually succeeds. Needless to say, if you were of a nervous disposition these weren’t the scenes for you. Tense and dramatic I’m not sure if I breathed throughout (in fact I was probably in need of some oxygen myself).

The episode finished with Brigitte pleading with Cath to alter the records to save them from any backlash from having earlier discharged the patient. Clearly struggling with the idea of lying about the care of a patient (somewhat ironically given that she’s pretending to be a doctor) Cath eventually alters the notes. But then she discovers Brgitte is drinking. Will she put the blame on Brigitte? Or continue to stick to their cover story? And more importantly, who is going to blow her own massive secret?

Looking forward to hearing about the final episode from Chloe! Here’s her own blog where you should drop in and check out her ‘ramblings’…

Inept Ramblings Blog

Trust Me, Series One, Episode Two ~ Review

Here’s Chloe Buckles, our wonderful television Guest Reviewer to sum up the latest episode of Trust Me…

As Cath Hardacre’s pretence as Dr Ally Sutton begins to unravel, viewers are left wondering who’s going to be the first to realise she isn’t who she says she is? Or will she actually be able to make it work?

The web of Cath Hardacre’s (Jodie Whittaker) lies is getting even more complex and tangled as we dive into the second episode of this BBC mini-series. We visit the A&E department briefly in this episode as Cath clearly now is at home in her new role. And occasional slip-up or mispronunciation of a word is all that can tell her apart from her other A&E doctor colleagues – all of whom love this new doctor who takes times to talk to and care for her patients like no other doctor they’ve seen before.

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

In this episode we focus in on Cath’s newly formed relationships with co-workers and new-boyfriend Andy Brenner (Emun Elliott). But it’s these relationships that look like they could be her unravelling, as well as her past sticking its nose in and coming back to haunt her. However, she does manage to get HR off her back by obtaining (at long last) a fake passport for herself in Ally’s name.

Returning to her routes in Sheffield to visit her ailing dad, Cath makes plans to see former partner Karl (The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison) who seems to have his life back on track and is keen to kick start the relationship between them and spend time with his daughter, Molly. Of course, not only is Cath now in a new relationship with colleague Andy, but Karl has no idea of what she’s currently up to – taking on the identity of her best friend. However, if anyone, I think Karl might be the most sympathetic to her situation and probably the only person that we’ve met who would keep up the pretence on her behalf.

Another concern for Cath is pesky journalist Sam Kelly (Nathan Welsh) who’s following up the story of neglect of patients at her former hospital. Desperate to be the one to expose what’s going on, he’s tracked Cath down at her new place of work and was dangerously close to spotting that she no longer goes under the name of Cath Hardacre and is masquerading at best friend Ally. Telling him she needed a fresh start, and allowing Sam to believe that Karl abused her, Sam eventually promises to stay away and leave her to her new life. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more of him though.

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

Attending a conference with colleague and line manager Brigitte Rayne (Sharon Small) was where another strand of this massive lie was likely to be pulled apart, as a former work colleague seemed to recognise Cath. These excellent scenes gave us some welcome insight into Brigitte, who so far seems to be a stressed out and a not very well respected boss, as well as naïve to how Cath is pulling the wool over her eyes. The scene shared between them outside was particularly well done as Brigitte tells Cath of how she neglected to spot sepsis in a young girl, because she wanted to finish her shift and go home, and the result of which was that the young girl died. A powerful scene that showed some insight into Brigitte’s character and also, I’m sure, made Cath realise how much she is playing with fire with patients lives.

The final relationship threatening to uncover Cath’s secret is her new relationship with colleague Andy Brenner. He’s already worked out that something is amiss after speaking to a friend of his who knows the real Ally Sutton. And when he intercepts a call about Cath’s dad we can see something is beginning to click into place for him as he reaches for the trusty internet for answers. Will he be able to work out what Cath has been up to? And if he does, is there any hope for their relationship?

Oooh sounds like gripping stuff, Chloe – and don’t forget you can catch Chloe’s own blog over at Inept Ramblings Blog

Trust Me, Series One, Episode One ~ Review *** GUEST BLOG ***

Chloe Buckles, a member of Team Break A Leg has very kindly offered to review the new series on BBC One, ‘Trust Me’. We love a guest blog from Chloe, so here she is to tell you all about the show which stars the new Doctor-to-be.

Lovely Chloe, who is one of our treasured Guest Bloggers

With Tuesday nights rapidly becoming a prime time for the BBC to show it’s latest mini drama series, plus the added surge of interest in actress Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor Who, Trust Me is, in my opinion, a piece of ‘must-watch’ TV. And this first episode of the series didn’t disappoint…

So, Who is the Doctor here? Well, one thing’s for sure, Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker) is not. When we first meet her she’s a capable and caring nurse, frustrated by how the system is letting not only her, but more importantly, her patients down. After toying with the idea of taking her concerns to the press, she eventually does the ‘right’ thing and keeps it in house. Unfortunately, her own conduct has been called into question and tables are quickly turned with Cath’s job now on the line.

Losing her job, and watching her best friend Ally Sutton (Andrea Lowe) get ready to jet off to New Zealand for her new life, you see the idea ignite and formulate in her mind – she could become her best friend. An A&E doctor. I’m not sure that when Ally said she’d do anything for Cath, she meant let her steal her identity!

Ally (JODIE WHITTAKER) – (C) Red Productions – Photographer: Mark Mainz

With so much against a character, who is painted to the viewers as honest and capable, you do feel for Cath. However, her decision to then steal her best friends identity didn’t entirely sit right for me – a hugely drastic decision with potentially enormous consequences for a situation that I didn’t feel was desperate enough, especially given that she is a good character who clearly cares about the quality of care of her patients.

Regardless, what follows is a highly anxious time with Cath masquerading as a qualified doctor, now in Edinburgh having moved from Sheffield. Despite doing her research, Cath is quickly overwhelmed by the pace and complication of an A&E department – apparently not just anyone can do it even with some YouTube tutorials! I felt genuinely uncomfortable, and not just at watching that foot be pulled back into place, but at the concern that she may get it wrong. A rabbit in the headlights. Her time in resus was particularly frightening and reminiscent only of a bad dream – where you are put in a situation where you have absolutely no idea how to respond. This is credit to the exceptional writing and directing, which made the scenes so tense and uneasy to watch as a viewer.

Despite Cath quickly becoming comfortable in her new role, especially in minors, huge cracks are already forming in her plan (which at its heart is simply to give her daughter, Molly, a better life). I look forward to seeing where this is going and, inevitably, how it all unravels as her past life catches up with her.

Trust Me airs on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

 

Chloe blogs at Inept Ramblings Blog

Broadchurch, Series Three Episode Six ~ Review

Broadchurch is edging ever closer to its conclusion and it’s the first time that I think I know who might have done it. However, I am also of the mind that it’s not going to be as easy as all that to wrap this up and I could be being led up the garden path. There were also heart breaking scenes this episode… Highlights to follow:

Ed in the frame ~ Ed (Lenny Henry) is in the frame for the rape, especially once news reaches Hardy (David Tennant) and Miller (Olivia Colman) that he has beaten up Jim (Mark Bazeley). What materialises thereafter (after I’ve already made up my mind that he’s the culprit) is that he has been stalking Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and the photographs he has come to light. However, is he really capable of rape as well or merely a stalker? Which is bad enough in itself…

Cath & Jim on the move ~ Cath (Sarah Parish) and Jim are making plans to move away and start again. Cath’s visit to see Trish to give her the news is met with a frosty reception and marching orders. I think it’s safe to say that friendship is most definitely over with. Does that put Jim fully out of the frame for the crimes?

Naughty Tom! ~ Tom (Adam Wilson) is not only caught out with porn on his mobile phone, much to the horror of his mum, but she also decides that the best way forward is to break the device. That’ll teach you a lesson, Tom! The link to the taxi driver and his son is also made, so that door is obviously not closed yet.

Divorce for the Latimers? ~ Mark (Andrew Buchan) and Beth (Jodie Whittaker) are still going through their rough patch. As Mark takes off to find Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) and finally get some answers, Beth tells Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) that she is going to ask him for a divorce. It appears that Mark’s behaviours has been causing the rift in their marriage, and his behaviour is due to his preoccupation with what happened to their son.

Melancholy Mark ~ Mark’s trip to see Joe is fruitful in as much as he comes away with the confession he has been hankering after. However, Mark’s ability to cope with what he had expected to hear versus the grief he carries deep within leads him to a suicide attempt. The filming of this is quite something, deeply moving and powerful.

Broadchurch Series Three, Episode Two ~ Review

Broadchurch episode two – the highlight of Monday! It’s still holding my interest and yet more twists have occurred in the plot. I have never taken so much enjoyment in watching a programme that puts the audience through the emotional wringer, but I am a glutton for punishment where this nugget is concerned. Here are the highlights:

Beth (Josie Whittaker) and Mark (Andrew Buchan)

The Latimers ~ Beth and Mark are still playing a prominent part in this series, Beth (Jodie Whittaker) is underway with her liaison work with Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and is being put under pressure by Miller (Olivia Colman) so that information can be released to the public. In the meantime, Beth and Mark (Andrew Buchan) seem to have been having vast difficulties in their relationship and there seems to be more to explore there. I like the fact that they are in the third series, it keeps some consistency to the residents of the area.

Trish’s tryst ~ Trish is still struggling to come to terms with what’s happened to her and Hesmondhalgh is giving the performance of her career as she plays out the emotions of the rape victim. Her husband from whom she is separated comes into the equation. Ian (Charlie Higson) is already in the frame by the looks of it, especially as he was at the party after which the rape had occurred. However, the plot twist is that Trish had been having consentual sex on the morning of the party. She won’t say who with!

What’s Jim hiding? ~ Jim (Mark Bazeley) has a finger pointing directly at him when it comes to the prime target for carrying out this crime. He has condoms in the car that are the same as those found at the scene. He also has an interest in fishing and appears to be a shady character. However, is this too much evidence for so soon in the programme? Is he covering for someone else? Are those his condoms? So many questions. As it’s Mark Bazeley we’re talking about I’d also like to know if he’d be keen to do a third series of Home Fires if it were to transpire…!

The net is closing in ~ Miller and Hardy (David Tennant) take a trip to a local fishing suppliers to obtain samples of fishing net and line. They are not met with a co-operative manger, Leo (Chris Mason) and it planted a seed that maybe he has something to do with it? Although this is the problem with a programme of this nature, I suspect everybody! Hopefully the samples that they eventually came away with will be a match to the fibres that were found on Trish’s person. It will be a much longer process if it didn’t come from the local supplier!

Text Torment ~ The text message at the close of the episode which Trish received and quaked in her boots at the sight of, tends to suggest that she knows her attacker. There is no name associated with the number. Or, is this text from the man she slept with whom she won’t name? Is the man in fact, Jim? Therefore making the attacker someone else? Too many questions and there’s always a cliff hanger!

 

 

 

Broadchurch Series Three, Episode One ~ Review

Broadchurch is back for a third series! One of the best programmes on television, ever – in my opinion and more than makes up for ITV’s distinct lack of really decent and engaging dramas. The fact it’s the final series doesn’t fill me with as much glee, I will feel the loss keenly. Here are a few highlights (although to pick a few is an almost impossible task!):

Julie Hesmondhalgh ~ The lady needs no other tagline than her own name, this actress is the perfect choice for such an integral role. Playing rape victim, Trish Winterman, Hesmondhalgh gave an extraordinary and highly emotive performance. She is renowned for playing out harrowing scenes from her Coronation Street days and this character is far removed from Hayley Cropper. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds and I feel confident that we haven’t seen the half of what Hesmondhalgh has to offer in this new role, yet.

Miller & Hardy ~ The duo de force are back to investigate this new case and both Olivia Colman and David Tennant are as compelling to watch as ever. The subtlety with which Tennant plays Hardy is engaging for me, always has been, Hardys determination simmers beneath the surface. Whereas Miller is her usual quirky self with her home life nipping at her heels. Best investigating team on telly!

broadchurch

New faces ~ In addition to Trish, there are some new faces who inevitably crop up with a new case. Sarah Parish is one of my favourite additions, she plays Trish’s friend, Cath. Cath’s husband, Ian (Mark Bazeley) looks like he’s being set up as the culprit at the moment. However, the obvious suspect is rarely the one who ends up having done it. We’ll see…

Blast from the past ~ Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) is back! This time she’s part of the rape crisis team and the contact for Trish. I’ll be interested to see how much of the original series one case if revisited. Is Danny going to be integrated into this new story?

Summary ~ What a dramatic start to the new series, the scene was set in a visually distressing way but the maximum impact it had on me commanded my attention from the outset. If you get a feeling that “this is going to be good” and no words have been spoken yet, then the formula is spot on. Remarkable progress is made in tracking the location of Trish’s rape and uncovering the facts. I feel absorbed in the story and I’m already pointing the finger. Broadchurch is BACK!

Photo Credits: ITV

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