Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Our Girl

Sunday nights are no longer going to be the same. For weeks now, the English general public have been lucky enough to have some exceptional Sunday night viewing which, let's be honest, is normally the kind of dead slot reserved for documentaries and occasionally a costume drama. But for the past couple of months, we have been enjoying a new type of drama. One which we have jumped on board with in a big way.

Our Girl, featuring Eastenders star Lacey Turner, depicts the progress of young army medic Molly through her fast tour in Afghanistan. Following a successful pilot episode which portrayed her training, we had to wait over a year for a full series to return. But this wait was well worth it.

The basic premise is very broad as you can see from above: I could sum up the whole 5 hours of viewing in a sentence. But this was intentionally done and clearly a clever design to allow the characters to breathe in an unimpeded way. Each episode had enough plot to be interesting and were definitely not short on action. What was the real focus of the drama though, was the character development. In particular this was portrayed in a skilfully realistic way by Turner. In the pilot, there were dramatic changes as Molly worked hard to complete her army training and Turner played it admirably. However, I believe her acting just hit a new level throughout the series. She shined as the warm yet blunt heroine, and the changes she underwent during the series were a lot subtler, but no less noticeable.

Her leading men (played by the very English Ben Aldridge and the very Welsh Iwan Rheon) also supported her in a perfect way. The whole boy-loves-girl-but-girl-loves-different-boy has perhaps been a little overdone in British drama but that is not to say it wasn't entertaining in this case. And in its slow progression, it isn't the overriding plot focus. It is more about friendship than anything else and coming to terms with the atrocities/danger that all who are in Afghanistan (whether locals, Brits or Americans) face on a daily basis.

With conflict happening a conveniently long way away, it is extremely easy to forget about it. To turn away and act like nothing is happening. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. But Our Girl has managed to bring the atrocities of the middle east to our attention once more and it definitely includes some simple words of wisdom that we should try to hold on to. None of us are wholly bad or wholly good, but all of us should (and can) strive to fix the little things in order to improve the bigger picture, one step at a time.

Our Girl is realistic, human and hugely emotive so it will be sure to stay with you, long after you stop watching it. It is heart warming, always slightly unexpected with a massive plot twist minutes before the end that you will just not see coming. So make sure you check it out. All 5 episodes are still on Iplayer and I promise you won't regret it.

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