WARNING: spoilers below
Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker might well be the new Doctor Who, but she’s very much just a nurse in the BBC’s tense new drama series for Tuesday nights, Trust Me. Not that that stops her pretending to be a doctor. Not at all…
Whittaker plays nurse Cath Hardacre in this gripping, if slightly odd, four-parter. After being forced out of her job for threatening to blow the whistle on some rather unscrupulous and neglectful NHS practices, Cath cooks up a cunning plan. She finds herself devising a rather hastily put together yet impressively Machiavellian plot to assume her eloping friend’s identity and pose as a doctor working in Accident and Emergency.
Cath’s ambitious (and, let’s face it, ever-so-slightly preposterous) plan has her moving from Sheffield to Edinburgh to start a new life with her young daughter Molly – and away from her hangdog loser of an estranged husband Carl, played perfectly by a long-faced and bearded Neil from The Inbetweeners, Blake Harrison.
The series was written by a real-life A&E doctor, Dan Sefton. His CV boasts some impressive ITV dramas like Good Karma Hospital and Mr Selfridge. His medical background means that the A&E scenes are extremely believable. And more than a little disgusting at times. There are two particularly wince-inducing scenes involving dislocated ankles being realigned which are not for the faint of heart.
Whittaker doesn’t really offer us any clue as to how she might play The Time Lord (or should that be Time Lady?) here, giving a kind of ethereal and distant performance as Cath/Alison Sutton. It’s a light and deliberate touch which suggests a woman caught up in a web of lies and deceit that, although spun by herself, isn’t borne of greed or cynicism.
And that appears to be where Trust Me (aka Trust Me, I’m Not a Doctor) is coming from. It poses some interesting questions about the morality of lying. How much trouble can an honest person get into when they tell a lie? And how can one act of deception change someone?
While we’re on the subject of people pretending to be someone else, it has to be said – Jodie Whittaker has a real knack for accents. She had the west country voice down in Broadchurch and she totally nails the South Yorkshire brogue here.
This debut episode has things going pretty well for Cath – or ‘Ali’ as we should be calling her now. But there’s virtually zero chance that the rest of this series won’t see her house of lies tumble down all around her. And while the plot here may seem a tad unbelievable to some, we think it’s an intriguing idea and one we’re excited to see develop.
We think it’s worth mentioning a quick final note on the idea of ‘bogus’ doctors. It may seem a hugely implausible concept, but there have been dozens of confirmed cases of non-qualified staff conning NHS bosses and working in hands-on positions in hospitals.
So perhaps the plot of Trust Me isn’t quite so ‘preposterous’ after all…
Did you tune in for Trust Me episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!