Oh the BBC is so very proud of being able to bang on about Jodie Whittaker in the role of a doctor. Haha! Ho Ho! What japes! But not that Doctor, not yet. Hold your horses folks. First we see her in Trust Me, a new 4 part drama as a “doctor” – quotation marks very much intended.
As the first curtains swished open and the first bed sheets were turned down, I realised this is the first hospital drama I’ve watched since leaving hospital (10 days in May, nice people, nice room, but extremely painful procedure and that will let them down on the overall TripAdvisor score) and I’m actually watching it ill, so it’s all very relevant. The nurses who looked after me were absolutely fantastic, but literally did get the shit jobs, and the piss jobs, and the puke jobs and so on. It’s no wonder people aspire to more.
Satisfyingly the setup is all sorted and done in the first 10 minutes and yet it doesn’t feel rushed; just highlights of Cath turning into best friend Dr Ally Sutton. She’s stealing her identity, her CV and her certificates, and adopting her wardrobe as her friend moves to the other side of the world. Time is not on her side, as she’s suspended from her nursing job and fast running out of money. Dopey ex Karl (Blake Harrison, famous from The Inbetweeners) is a waste of space too and a drain on her emotionally and financially. She needs money and fast. She says she’s doing it for her little daughter Molly, but I think also she’s greedy, ambitious, and jealous of her stylish and important friend; probably always has been. She seems wide-eyed and kind, keen to do good, but there’s got to be something darker under the surface to propel her to such extreme lengths.
Honestly though – A&E? With less than three months worth of YouTube videos?! That’s not ambitious, that’s completely insane. That’s self-confidence at almost Trumpian levels. How long could you last there, seriously? Famously though some doctors are butchers, some are frauds and some do terrible things to patients for years before they’re struck off. And the junior doctors are the ones complained about, which hardly seems fair. They’re just learning.
Reality might be stretched thin, but you can’t deny it looks stylish – the black cinescope frame and plenty of lens flair. Certainly sexier than Holby. The supporting cast are good, with sideways looks that Cath can easily misconstrued. Are they talking about me or just talking? It’s a serious case of imposter syndrome, which everyone feels especially in a new job. In this instance it’s turned up to 11. Do we want Cath to get away with it? When we see her as a whistleblower we have lots of sympathy for her. She’s trying to do right by failed patients and a failing NHS trust. Nurses are extremely well qualified and experienced but does anyone want a doctor who’s just blagging it, even if she gives great hugs?
My main irritant so far is a small but vital one. As an ex NHS administrator I know for a fact that even the shittiest Trust would absolutely insist on photo ID before anyone starts a job – surgeon, sister or security. Anyone and everyone. This plot hole is so big I’m waving at you through it – yoohoo!
Writer Dan Sefton should know. He is a A&E doctor himself in Taunton. So it’s no surprise he’s considered this. In the preview for next week we see an anxious-looking HR man reminding Cath he needs to see ID. Pleading that her passport is lost is not nearly a good enough excuse. And the journalist, previously interested in Cath’s whistleblowing story, is wondering why she’s fallen off the map and is extremely keen to make contact. This is a dank and dirty endeavor that even the best nurse wouldn’t be able to clean up.
Trust Me episode 1 is available on iPlayer now