When I was a boy, we had a GP who always looked sicker than you did. She would listen to your symptoms with unhappy red eyes and occasionally sneeze into a handkerchief, open it up and study the contents. When you were done talking about your complaint, which you both agreed probably wasn’t much at all, she would wait patiently for the magic words: “And how are you, doctor?”
“Dreadful,” she’d say. “Absolutely dreadful.”
I think that might be the hidden message of Doctor Foster (BBC One, Tuesdays, 9pm): medics suffer, too. Sometimes preposterously. In the first series the GP found that her husband was cheating on her with a teenage girl. She slept with her neighbour to punish him; he tried to kill her; they agreed to go their separate ways. In series two, remarkably, he has moved back to a house around the corner. Now he wants to steal Doctor Foster’s friends, their teenage son, her entire life.
Why? This is a show in which I can’t work out what anyone sees in anyone else. Why did the intelligent and attractive Doctor Foster marry a loser in the first place? From what I can make out, he’s a dangerously unstable man with bad teeth. Meanwhile, the son’s schoolteacher is desperate to bed Doctor Foster even though she’s a raging drunk. Mr Teacher meets Doctor Foster in a nightclub and she invites him to fool around in a toilet stall. He, being a gentleman, says no and suggests they meet for breakfast instead. Next morning, she wakes up on her sofa and the doorbell rings. It’s Mr Teacher.
“How do you feel after last night?” he asks.
“I haven’t even brushed my teeth,” she answers.
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