**WARNING: spoiler alert if you haven’t seen series two episode five of Doctor Foster**
Series two of Doctor Foster ended with Gemma and Simon’s son Tom’s sudden disappearance.
After all the sturm and drang of the bitter break-up it was as if we viewers experienced the same thing as Gemma – a sudden realisation, far too late, about what the teenager has put up with all this time.
And this twist wasn’t actually part of writer Mike Bartlett’s plan – at least not in his first draft – as he revealed in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com.
“The ending of the show unfolded as I was writing it,” he reveals.
“In the plan he’s in the car at the end. They go back to her house and get a new kitchen and try to build a life. It was only when I went to write it that she goes back to the car and he’s not there. But that happened very organically from what he has been through, I think.
“Tom’s not a little child any more, he’s going to make his own choices. And so hopefully it’s one of those ones which you don’t see coming but when it happens you look over the whole series and realise this has been coming the whole time.
“I was so involved in Gemma and Simon’s story that’s all I was thinking about when writing it. It sounds mad, this. But she comes out of the hotel and he’s not there. That’s the moment you look for as a writer, when the characters start telling you what they are doing rather than you telling them.”
For Bartlett, Tom had been “forgotten and buffeted around and also doing his own not so good things”.
But he says that he deliberately did not plan the ending because he wanted to live “in the present” with his characters.
He adds: “I think it’s important with this show that you stay in the present. It’s not a show where you are seeding lots of things for some future thing. And that’s never been the point of it. Part of the reason I don’t massively do a big masterplan for it is that no one in the show has that. And it’s all about the present moment and what it feels like to go through this.
“No one’s in control of things, particularly in series two. There’s no big plan, it’s spiralling and they’re trying to keep control of it and that’s part of the energy of the show.”
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.