Breathless

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

Breathless wears the sleek, undeniably attractive patina of the cult US drama Mad Men. It’s is set in 1961 and features a handsome, suave sexual conqueror at the top of his profession with a bored blonde trophy wife in the suburbs from whom he is emotionally estranged, and the workplace siren is an ambitious redhead. But however much Mad Men’s Don Draper is interested in women’s physical attributes, he isn’t a gynaecologist, unlike handsome, louche Otto Powell (Jack Davenport).

Powell is a brilliant, charismatic (of course) surgeon in a London on the cusp of the sexual revolution. Women fall at his feet like dead squirrels, apart from a pert new nurse, but he’s a crusader who carries out discreet, even decorous illegal abortions for women in trouble.

Breathless is tremendously stylish, a brightly polished aquamarine of a drama, with hints of a substance that, I hope, won’t take too long to emerge.

Summary

Hospital drama set in London during the early 1960s, following the staff of a busy gynaecology ward at a time when abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just becoming available to married women. Charismatic surgeon Otto Powell is summoned to the theatre, where a young pretender to his throne, Richard Truscott, is about to make a serious error. Meanwhile, nurse Angela Wilson is concerned about a patient who is determined to escape her impending marriage to a man she doesn't love. Starring Jack Davenport, Oliver Chris, Catherine Steadman, Zoe Boyle, Shaun Dingwall, Natasha Little and Joanna Page.

Cast & Crew

Otto Powell Jack Davenport
Jean Meecher Zoe Boyle
Richard Truscott Oliver Chris
Charlie Enderbury Shaun Dingwall
Elizabeth Powell Natasha Little
Lily Enderbury Joanna Page
Angela Wilson Catherine Steadman
Mrs Truscott Cheryl Campbell
Matron Vosper Diane Fletcher
Dr Omprakash Mehta Ronny Jhutti
Mrs Johnstone Melanie Kilburn
Monty Meecher Finbar Lynch
Insp Mulligan Iain Glen
Maureen Mulligan Holli Dempsey
Theatre Sister Farley Jayne McKenna
Maj Domo Angus Wright
Duchess Annabel Mullion
Thomas Powell Rudi Goodman
Sister Neville Dystin Johnson
Mrs Beatrice Mulligan Cathy Sara
Terence John Hollingworth
Mr Baring Edward Hancock
Mrs Baring Lorna Nickson Brown
Mr Truscott Michael Troughton
Director Paul Unwin
Executive Producer Kate Bartlett
Executive Producer Paul Unwin
Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton
Producer Jolyon Symonds
Writer Paul Unwin
Writer Peter Grimsdale
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Drama