We really need to talk about Doctor Foster season 2

The show that had us shouting at the TV is just around the corner. But where can the story go next?

The second round of 2015’s water-cooler hit, Doctor Foster season 2, is about to kick off. But where can the story of spurned GP Gemma Foster go after season one’s explosive, and seemingly very final, conclusion? If we learned anything from series one, which saw a single blonde hair lead to the total annihilation of one woman’s personal life, then pretty much anywhere.

Remind us what happens in the first season of Doctor Foster?

In the opening episode of season one a successful and happily married GP called Gemma Foster (Suranne Jones) discovers one long, blonde hair on her husband Simon (Bertie Carvel)’s scarf. This single discovery kicks Gemma into a spiral of suspicion that leads to the revelation of Simon’s affair with 23-year-old Kate, the daughter of Gemma’s patient.

Which bits made us shout at the TV?

Most of these involved some slightly ridiculous plot twists that pushed our willing suspension of disbelief to its absolute limits: Gemma discovering Kate and Simon have gone on a cosy French holiday with their best friends (and taken some happy group photos she discovers on his secret affair phone), Gemma bursting into Simon’s office to see him kissing Kate in the garden – presumably in full view of Simon’s others colleagues – Kate telling Gemma she’s pregnant with Simon’s child, and even Gemma’s mother-in-law revealing she’s known about the affair for two years. We also watched Dr Foster’s professional life unravel at the same time as her marriage thanks to an avalanche of negative RateMyGP reviews (doesn’t rain but it pours).

Where will the story go in Doctor Foster season 2?

You might remember the final showdown at Kate’s parents’ house at the end of season one, when Gemma engineers an awkward dinner party, then sets fire to the evening by revealing the affair and Kate’s pregnancy. Just before the credits we see Gemma in the town square with her son, having apparently split from Simon.

Fast-forward to season two, where the action is set to begin two years later – in real time given the show’s hiatus – after the divorce between Simon and Gemma has gone through. ‘We’re now going to tell the next chapter in Gemma’s story’, says the show’s writer Mike Bartlett, ‘her life in Parminster may look better on the surface, but as she will discover to her cost, every action has its consequences eventually. No one comes through hell unscathed.’ File that one under: lots of old wounds being opened when Simon comes back into Gemma’s life.

Who is returning to star in it?

The brilliant Suranne Jones – who won a TV BAFTA for season one – will return to play Gemma in season two, as will her estranged husband Simon, played by Bertie Carvel. We also know from the billing of Jodie Comer that Simon’s 23-year-old lover Kate is still in his life.  Our money’s on: a very bitter divorce battle, some regrettable make-up sex with Simon and several very public stand-offs in Parminster town square.

Much of the tension in season one rested on Gemma’s discovery of the affair – the big challenge for season two will be how Bartlett maintains that tension two years after the affair has unfolded. Can they do it? We’ll find out next Tuesday 5th.

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