Paula was a mire, a mess, a great big sponge pudding stuffed with nonsense
"Up to now I’d thought that The Replacement would be this year’s drama turkey," writes Alison Graham. "But Paula, you deserve a special place on the table"
*** Spoilers ahead. Do not read on unless you have watched the third episode of Paula ***
Oh my, that really was the worst ending to one of the most dreadful television dramas of recent years. Paula was a mire, a mess, a great big sponge pudding stuffed with nonsense and topped with idiocy.
There was Paula herself for a start, played by Denise Gough. It’s completely commendable for a television drama to show a mature woman exercising her sexual autonomy but come on, boffing the rat-catcher within minutes of his arrival?
And what about that hapless, badly-shaved copper? They’d barely had time to wipe their feet on Paula’s well-trodden WELCOME mat before they were in the throes of helpless passion. I mean, did that man even wash? He looked filthy.
Her previous lover, the married PE teacher at the school where Paula taught chemistry, ended up dead, beaten to death by the rat catcher (Tom Hughes) who for some reason had two “wives” at home, one of whom he eventually shut in a cupboard. (He also kept getting visions of his dead sister).
But, dearie me, that denouement. Paula drugged then buried alive in some kind of tin coffin the rat-catcher, leaving a feeding tube up his nose. He eventually found comfort cuddling the ghost of his dead sister. Then Paula announced to the grubby copper that she was pregnant. The end. Er, what?
By this point Paula had long ago slipped the bonds of coherent drama and had become a series of random exchanges and incidents, like the dog in a bag that had been left on her kitchen floor by someone or other.
Everyone operated in such isolation that when she shot up a hotel loo NO ONE came to check on the noise. Or when the rat catcher smashed into parked cars at night on a residential street, overturning his van and NO ONE came out to check on the noise.
Up to now I’d thought that The Replacement would be this year’s drama turkey. But Paula, you deserve a special place on the table.