Sunday night saw the return of a powerful and emotive drama, Our Girl. The story of Molly Dawes (Lacey Turner), a newly recruited medic soldier to the British Army who is sent to fight in Afghanistan, is a gripping one. A former council estate girl with no hope, no future and an ‘I don’t care’ attitude, she well and truly takes her destiny into her own hands and learns what it’s like to be responsible for the lives of others.
It’s hard not to see a trace of Lacey Turner’s other alter ego, Eastenders’ girl Stacey Slater, in the character of Molly. Both female characters are strong, ballsy and not afraid to say what they think. Yet, Molly seems to possess a delicate side, particularly when faced with her first real life trauma on the battlefield. We see Molly develop and grow as a person, both in bravery and in integrity, gaining the respect of her fellow comrades.
What’s endearing about Turner’s character is her perseverance, despite the desperate desert conditions, tough training regimes and repeated jibes from fellow soldiers. Although, it’s probably this that will be key to her success. There also seems to be a comical side to Molly; some light “banter” with her comrades provides some lighthearted relief from the drama’s subject matter.
But Turner’s Molly is not the only stand out character. Iwan Rhodes plays cheeky chappy Smurf, who happens to have a darker and more vengeful side; his brother was killed on another tour in Afghanistan, and he hasn’t yet made his peace. The story line zigzags between his ongoing possible romance with Molly and his misguided grief, leaving the viewer wondering what could happen next. Ben Aldridge makes a charismatic leader, taking on the role of Captain James. He seems to initially doubt Molly’s abilities, though comes to realise her bravery knows no bounds.
If the opening episode of Our Girl is anything to go by, the rest of the series will be a must see. Gripping drama, clever story lines and well-constructed and empathetic characters all add up to what could be one of the best dramas of the year.
Our Girl returns tonight at 9pm on BBC1.
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