LAST WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS …
‘AND you know that now, there’s no repair. No going back.”
Eh? Who’s she talking to now?
“Whatever fight you thought was important, now looks so naive. What you thought had been the fight was merely the warning. Your biggest fear was nothing compared to this.”
Man, she’s really lost it this time. What’s she on about? And why’s she talking so weird? Speak up, Gemma, I can’t hear you above the weeping string quartet.
“The weeks go past and people say it will get better. But it doesn’t.”
Come on, it wasn’t all bad. Not a patch on Series One, true. But the bit with the vibrator was funny.
“You do everything anyone could and somehow you know it’s done. It’s happened, too late. You go over the past, what you did, what you said, again and again and again – what should you have done?” Wait, hang on: who’s this “You” she keeps banging on about? Is she talking to me? “Did you get it wrong from the start? You’ll never stop going over it...” Actually, I reckon I stopped going over it around the time you said, “Now, there’s no repair.” But maybe I did get it wrong from the start. Like many, I’d been enjoying the second series of the BBC’s smash hit knockabout loopy romcom, Doctor Foster. But the fun has been spoiled somewhat by the dawning realisation that, apparently, I’ve been enjoying it for the wrong reasons. Essentially, I’d regarded the show as a canny updating of Punch And Judy, including the annoying baby, except, in this telling, Punch had lost his stick, and Judy was the one making merry with her club. As such, I was viewing in much the spirit Charles Dickens was when he wrote about the puppet shows of his day: “One of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life, which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive.”
Turns out, though, that while I thought I was watching Suranne Jones Goes Totally Ape Berserk, writer Mike Bartlett thought he was indeed crafting some morally instructive tract. Sadly, the same pomposity gradually infected Jones’s performance. By the end, she was gliding through like Celia Johnson playing a woman with bad toothache, trying terribly, terribly hard not to let anyone know about it.
This culminated in one of the worst closing sequences in living memory, as Jones “broke the fourth wall”, and started speaking nonsense straight at the viewer, as if she’d started doing a life insurance advert by mistake. By the end, with Jones standing at her nice front door looking directly into the camera, I was experiencing flashbacks to the dark years when Ted Moult kept trying to sell me double glazing. The BBC kindly offered a helpline number as the credits rolled, but I don’t think this was the kind of trauma they had in mind.