Suranne Jones stars as Gemma Foster in the TV series Doctor Foster.
Suranne Jones stars as Gemma Foster in the TV series Doctor Foster. Sam Barker

Doctor Foster's dark and twisted medicine

GEMMA Foster's life takes an even darker and more twisted turn in season two of Doctor Foster.  

The acclaimed British melodrama follows, Gemma (Suranne Jones), a GP, after she finds out her husband has been having an affair.   

Season two picks up two years later as Gemma's ex-husband Simon and his new wife Kate, plus their baby daughter, announce they are moving back to Parminster.   

Their return sparks a bitter series of events that threaten both families.  

Suranne Jones and Bertie Carvel in a scene from season two of Doctor Foster.
Suranne Jones and Bertie Carvel in a scene from season two of Doctor Foster. Laurence Cendrowicz

Enter James, a mild-mannered teacher from Gemma's son Tom's school who asks her out during a consultation and unwittingly finds himself a bystander in Gemma's emotional whirlwind.  

"I hadn't watched Coronation Street or Scott and Bailey, so I didn't know Suranne at all as a figure in British TV really," Prasanna Puwanarajah tells The Guide.  

"I watched season one (of Doctor Foster) and loved it. I thought 'Wow this is a really brilliant actress'. I thought the show was an extraordinary look behind the twitching curtain of middle-class England.  

"We have these towns all over the country where people know the local GP really well and people automatically anoint them with this unassailable moral clarity. This show's hypothesis is if you push a person far enough and traumatise them then they'll respond and kick back and defend what they need to defend." 

Suranne Jones and Daniel Cerqueira in a scene from season two of Doctor Foster.
Suranne Jones and Daniel Cerqueira in a scene from season two of Doctor Foster. Laurence Cendrowicz

Despite an extremely awkward first date, Gemma drags James to her ex's house-warming party even though they are not invited.  

"We never know what's going on in people's lives when we ask someone out. It's an act of saying to someone 'I'd like to invite you into my world'," Prasanna says.  

"James hasn't watched season one of Doctor Foster, so he doesn't know what we know. He's just met a person who's just been really straight-forward with him on the first evening they've spent together. That level of glaring honesty is quite unusual and it makes him curious about her."   

Suranne Jones as Gemma Foster and Prasanna Puwanarajah as James Mohan in a scene from season two of the TV series Doctor Foster. Supplied by BBC Australia.
Suranne Jones as Gemma Foster and Prasanna Puwanarajah as James Mohan in a scene from season two of the TV series Doctor Foster. Supplied by BBC Australia. Laurence Cendrowicz

 

As Gemma and Simon continue to try to make each other as miserable as possible, James is a beacon of hope for Gemma if she can manage to let go of the past.   

"He's the one person in the world who doesn't know her past and potentially isn't judging her," Prasanna says.  

"He represents the next possible step in her journey. People do exist in the world who are not spooked by things happening on a date that are quite full-on or revealing, or who are just not weirdos. James goes 'I've discovered something about you but let's just not push the red button just yet and see how this plays out'."  

But as fans of the acclaimed series know, Doctor Foster will never deliver a simple, happy ending.  

"I just watched the finale of season two here in the UK," Prasanna says.  

"Obviously I remember reading the scripts, but it's been so brilliantly well made. The highs and lows are so well achieved. We're all collectively very proud of it. It's a really good piece of work."  

Doctor Foster airs Tuesdays at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW on BBC First.  


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