Doctor Foster makes you question everything you think you know about your own relationship

As Gemma’s world collapses around her you can’t help but ask, ‘What if that was me?’ says Ellie Walker-Arnott

I sat down to watch Doctor Foster in the flat I recently started sharing with my boyfriend, content, settled and feeling rather smug to have the telly to myself for an entire evening. And I finished, five tense and terrifying instalments later, questioning everything I thought I knew…


Thanks to the BBC1 drama – which follows Suranne Jones’s Dr Gemma Foster, a successful GP who suspects her husband is cheating on her – I was suddenly eyeing my boyfriend’s scarves for rogue blonde hairs and fighting the urge to look at his calendar when he was late home from work.

Call it naivety if you want (I prefer trusting) but I instinctively believe pretty much everything I’m told. I’d definitely be a better journalist if I didn’t, but I think it makes me a pretty laid-back person to share a life with. I’m not suspicious. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt possessive or jealous.

But now I wanted to ask where my poor, unsuspecting boyfriend had been, who he’d been with and – not to be melodramatic or anything – if everything he’d ever said to me was a lie…

Because Doctor Foster is that rare thing: a completely captivating drama that haunts you long after the final credits roll.

It’s a story of lies uncovered, of human nature and of the slow and terrible way a marriage can unravel.

As Gemma’s world collapses around her you can’t help but ask, ‘What if that was me?’ What would I do if I realised I’d unknowingly built my life on false foundations?

There’s also the age-old question of why. Why some people are unfaithful, why they cheat on the people they say they love, why we chose to be monogamous in the first place. Why, even though you wake up next to them every day, you can’t ever know what’s really going on in your other half’s head.

Doctor Foster is an unsettling watch, and the extent to which it affected me took me by surprise.

Luckily, I watched the finale a week ago now, unable to stop myself watching it way before time, so I’ve started to calm down a little.

In fact, I haven’t inspected anyone’s scarf for a few days now. I think I’ve turned a corner. 


Doctor Foster concludes tonight at 9:00pm on BBC1