Doctor foster season 3

We made it through the Doctor Foster series 2 finale. Well done everyone. Well done. Despite needles and speeding cars, Simon, Gemma AND Tom have made it out alive (as far as we know). But after weeks of focusing on each other, Mr and Dr Foster have lost something even more important than their marriage – their son.

So with Tom missing and everyone’s lives up in the air, what we really want to know is, will there be a third series for us to get stuck into?

Is Doctor Foster series 3 definitely happening?

Yes! Suranne Jones said it herself

“I’m moving on from this play – I have seven weeks left – then I go to film a Sally Wainwright drama, until December”, she said on Lorraine in March 2018. “Then I’ll look at next year because I have a two year old and there’s no time off.”

A source at the BBC previously told The Sun: “After its ratings success last year commissioners were always keen for it to come back and although its early days they have given it the green light.

“Suranne is extremely busy with other projects at the moment but bosses are trying to pin her down for some potential filming dates. It’s looking like it would film next year at the earliest.”

But Suranne has said on at least two occasions that there’s no official confirmation.

“I’m filming until December 2018, so I’m not even free until 2019 and the team are doing their new show, Mike Barlett’s writing two series, so we’ve not talked about it, because we’re still basking in number two. So who knows?”

The actress, who plays Gemma, also told The Graham Norton Show in December 2017 there were ‘no plans’ for a series 3, commenting, “There are no plans because everyone is busy and I am working all of next year so I just don’t know.”


She did previously say in March 2017 that she’s certainly not against discussing the possibility of a third series, though, telling The Mirror: “If Mike comes up with another story then we’ll talk about it. But for now, like the first one, it’s got a really good, solid ending.”

The show’s creator, Mike Bartlett has previously said he hasn’t written a third series, telling The Sun: “No, I haven’t written a third series. The BBC has never ever put pressure on us to do more and it’s not that sort of show. You could see that at the end of series one. There was just as many people going, ‘Don’t do a series two’. It’s because people care and I love that.

“There’s a lot of trust that we’d only do more if there’s a story and a reason. So there’s no pressure to do more. We all just focus on the one we’re doing and that’s a massive amount of work for everybody.”

BBC/Drama Republic/Nick Briggs

“Your guess is as good as mine,” he said on This Morning recently. “This may be my final ever appearance on television, so how could I comment on a third series!”

Doctor Foster

Doctor Foster series 3 storyline

Is Tom alive? Where has he gone? Will Simon and Gemma rekindle their relationship? Will Tom’s teacher ever get the message and just GIVE. UP? Gah! So many questions.

Mike, the writer, recently told the Radio Times: “That ending of series two leaves a lot open to come back to: where has the son Tom gone and what’s happening to him? “What happens to the parents? That’s the sort of story territory we’d be in, but it’s not written yet.

“No-one has ever put pressure on me to make more of it,” Mike continued. “I think the BBC would rather I did something new, but if we do bring Doctor Foster back it will only thrive if we do it at the right time.”

Doctor Foster series 3 release date

Wahhhhhhh, we wish we knew when the show was returning (if at all), but right now we have no information on a release date for Doctor Foster’s third series.

But, we’ve done some detective work, and figured out that the first series aired in 2015. The second series aired this year. So maybe we could expect a third series in 2019? It will all come down to viewing figures, cast availability and no doubt the social media reaction to THAT finale.


Who will be in Doctor Foster series 3?

Well, without any deaths in the series 2 finale, we guess any of the characters could technically be back for series 3.

Tom may be missing, but if a series 3 did happen, we’re guessing it would revolve around the search to find him. This would imply he isn’t dead… but who knows. Doctor Foster is anything but predictable.

Anna Lewis News Editor Anna Lewis is the News Editor at Delish UK, which means she’s always either writing about food, cooking food or eating food.

Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett says there’s still more to Gemma Foster’s story

BBC One’s Doctor Foster, starring Suranne Jones as a woman who suspects her husband is cheating, struck a chord with critics and audiences alike when it first aired, spawning numerous water-cooler debates and a second season.


Four years on, series creator Mike Bartlett has now revealed that there’s still unexplored depths to Dr Gemma Foster. Speaking exclusively to, he said: “There’s something going on with Gemma Foster, I don’t know what, I think she’s got… there’s more capacity to that character than I know. I love that. Do you know what I mean?,” before adding: “If I ever went back to her I think I’d find something that I hadn’t seen before.”

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“The same with Kate Parks, Jodie character, in that. And that absolutely I felt in series one with her, that there was more to her than I’d found. And that was why she’s more in the second series. And she’s brilliant.”

Doctor Foster’s Mike Bartlett, Suranne Jones, Bertie Carvel and Tom Taylor (Getty)

Asked whether he would be tempted to return to the series, Bartlett said: “Only if there’s a story that I want to tell, and I feel like it’s as important and vital as the other two . I think not just to continue the story, but if there’s something that’s gonna feel as important and vital, and show us sides to those characters we haven’t seen before, then it would be great.”

However, the Press writer adds that he has no immediate plans to return to the character “at the moment”, adding: “I love doing new things. I’ve always done completely different plays, and I’m loving doing completely different shows and you go, ‘Oh, is that been written by the same person, I had no idea, it’s great’.”


Mike Bartlett’s new ITV series Sticks and Stones will air in December

Note: contains spoilers for Doctor Foster seasons one and two.

Is there a Doctor Foster in the house?

The BBC drama, starring Suranne Jones as GP Gemma Foster, captivated viewers when it first hit screens back in September 2015, before doing exactly the same almost two years later when the second season aired.

But as of yet, season three has yet to materialise, and that’s certainly going to be the case for a significant period of time.

For one thing, Jones currently has her hands full with the second season of Gentleman Jack.


The actor previously addressed her busy workload back in 2017 when asked about Doctor Foster returning for season three.

“I’m very busy next year – my whole year is booked up until December 2018,” she told Digital Spy exclusively. “I don’t see where we could fit it. Mike has also got a million-and-one amazing projects, so I’m really happy that we all did what we did, and then we’ve moved on.

“I’ve signed up for three very different projects – a theatre project, a film and a TV project – so I’m just not sure that… unless you’re talking 10 years’ time? But I can’t think that far ahead.”

But Jones also assured fans (via The Mirror) that it isn’t something she’s ruled out.

“If Mike comes up with another story, then we’ll talk about it,” she said.

And she told Digital Spy that “you should never say never”, adding: “I’m not saying no.”

BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

Jones also echoed that sentiment during an appearance on This Morning back in May.

“Part of me would be so frightened ,” she said. “But who knows? Never say never.”

And she isn’t the only cast member who is involved in other projects.

Bertie Carvel, who plays her husband Simon, is currently shooting Channel 4’s new crime thriller Baghdad Central.

The six-episode series, which is being shot in Morocco, will take place in 2003 when US troops arrive in Baghdad.

And then there’s Jodie Comer, who plays Kate, the university student who Simon had an affair with, and then went on to marry and have his second child with.

Kate and Simon’s marriage appeared to be over in season two after she left the country, so it’s entirely feasible that she wouldn’t play a role – and Comer herself is seriously in demand following her staggering performance as Villanelle in Killing Eve.

Sid Gentle Films/Nick BriggsBBC

Bartlett himself has also been extremely busy. He has written Sticks and Stones, a new psychological thriller for ITV starring Ken Nwosu and Ben Miller.

The series is set at a business park in Reading and delves into the highly-competitive world of commission-driven sales.

“Having written about bullying in the workplace previously for the stage, it feels fantastic to tell a new story that explores the potential cruelty of commercial competition, and the effect that has on our psychology, and humanity,” he said in a statement.

Filming kicked off in September 2018.

And there’s more.

Bartlett has also written a brand new six-part BBC drama titled Life.

Jemal CountessGetty Images

The narrative, described as an “epic saga”, revolves around people living in a large divided house in Manchester and will bring together “four separate, deeply human and surprising strands to tell a larger story about what happens when we decide to step out of our own personal space and take a closer look into other people’s lives”.

In a statement, he said: “It’s hugely exciting to be working with Drama Republic (Doctor Foster, Wanderlust, Black Earth Rising) and the BBC again, to tell a brand new, epic story about seemingly ‘ordinary’ people who turn out to be anything but.”

Filming began back in spring this year.

But that hasn’t stopped the writer from musing on what could happen, if Doctor Foster does return.

Chatting to the Radio Times, he said: “That ending of series two leaves a lot open to come back to: where has the son Tom gone and what’s happening to him? What happens to the parents? That’s the sort of story territory we’d be in, but it’s not written yet.”

He added: “No-one has ever put pressure on me to make more of it. I think the BBC would rather I did something new, but if we do bring Doctor Foster back it will only thrive if we do it at the right time.”

BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

“Tom’s gone. So there’s a question mark,” he said in a separate interview with Radio Times.

“Clearly there’s potential there. But obviously there would have to be lots of conversations.

“We need to talk – Suranne and I and lots of other people need to have lots of conversations and we’ll see.”

Jones also discussed what she would like to see happen in the next chapter.

“Obviously I want Tom to come home, for her,” she told Radio Times.”I think it would be nice if they rectified their relationship.

“I don’t know what her and Simon’s relationship would be, but it would be nice for her and Tom to rectify that.”

The jury’s still out on whether we’ll ever see Gemma Foster again, but with more than enough scope to continue, we’re certainly not ruling this one out.

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“I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to do a second series,” Suranne Jones said earlier this year of following up 2015’s drama sensation Doctor Foster. ” was a standalone piece. To do a follow-up just because something was successful… I didn’t feel that that was the right thing.”

But she ended up being convinced by series creator Mike Bartlett’s pitch – a Kramer vs Kramer-esque story of a divorced couple at war and the impact their feud has on their son – and the series two finale delivered overnight ratings of over 7 million.

So, inevitably, talk has now turned to a possible third chapter. But will it happen, and, if so, when? Here’s everything we know so far.

Doctor Foster season 2, episode 5: Where did we leave off?

BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

After weeks at war, Gemma Foster (Jones) finally got her revenge on cheating ex-husband Simon (Bertie Carvel). Having proved to his new wife Kate (Jodie Comer) that Simon wasn’t over his first marriage, she totally dismantled the philanderer’s new, picture-perfect life.

Simon lost his wife and his baby daughter (with Kate and little Amelie both escaping to Paris) as well as his home, his car and his job, all of which were supplied by Kate’s family.

In a deep depression, Simon was driven to attempt suicide, and while Gemma originally agreed to aid in the attempt, she eventually convinced him to keep on living for the sake of their son Tom (Tom Taylor).

But, in an ironic twist, Tom had run away: the troubled teenager was emotionally exhausted from his parents’ feud and, having been excluded from school, decided to leave Parminster behind.

Doctor Foster cast: Who will return for series 3?

There is no Doctor Foster without Suranne Jones, and the return of Bertie Carvel as Simon Foster seems certain, too. No way he’d leave Parminster with his son still AWOL.

Speaking of which, Tom Taylor is bound to return as the Fosters’ son Tom, and he’ll have to face up to sins of the past, having got drunk and forced himself on schoolmate Isobel (Hope Lloyd).

Other major characters who could return include Gemma’s so-called pal Ros (Thusitha Jayasundera), ally Carly (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and colleague / frenemy Siân (Sian Brooke).


With Kate having left the country, her marriage to Simon conclusively over, Jodie Comer’s involvement in any future series would appear less certain. Ditto her on-screen parents Neil Stuke and Sara Stewart, who play Chris and Susie Parks.

Gemma’s long-time neighbours Anna and Neil also left Parminster after the latter strayed once too often, so it’s unclear if Victoria Hamilton and/or Adam James would feature in future episodes.

And with Gemma calling time on her relationship with nice-but-dull James, it might be a stretch to bring back Prasanna Puwanarajah too.

Doctor Foster season 3: When will it air on BBC One?

Speaking to Digital Spy back in July 2017 ahead of series two’s launch Suranne Jones hinted that there might not be a third outing for Gemma… at least, not for a long time.

“I’m very busy next year – my whole year is booked up until December 2018,” she explained. “I don’t see where we could fit it. Mike has also got a million-and-one amazing projects, so I’m really happy that we all did what we did, and then we’ve moved on.

“I’ve signed up for three very different projects – a theatre project, a film and a TV project – so I’m just not sure that… unless you’re talking 10 years’ time? But I can’t think that far ahead.”

BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

The theatre project she mentioned is Frozen (no relation to the Disney hit), co-starring Jason Watkins and running for 12 weeks at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Friday, February 9, 2018. (Coincidentally, the play is about the emotional impact of a child going missing.)

After that, she’ll jump straight into Gentleman Jack, an eight-part BBC series from Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright, playing Anne Lister.

Plus, not only is Jones one of the most in-demand actresses in the country, she’s also hinted at taking on more work behind the camera, having served as associate producer on the most recent series of Doctor Foster and Scott and Bailey.

But, if she’s able to find time in her schedule, it appears the BAFTA winner is opening to playing Gemma again. “If Mike comes up with another story, then we’ll talk about it,” she said, in quotes printed by The Mirror in September.

“There are no plans,” Jones said in December. “Everyone is busy and I am working all of next year so I just don’t know.”

So… maybe a new series in late 2019 or early 2020?

One thing’s for sure, the BBC aren’t ruling out a third series. Some took the below tweet – published just after series two’s finale aired – as confirmation that Doctor Foster was done for good…

Gone… but never, ever forgotten. Thank you for joining us for #DoctorFoster.

— BBC One (@BBCOne) October 3, 2017

But the Beeb later clarified that “gone… but never, ever forgotten” actually referred to the missing Tom. *phew*

Mike Bartlett has also confirmed that, while he hasn’t begun writing a third series, there is “potential” for another visit to Parminster.

“Tom’s gone, so there’s a question mark. In a way, that is a question mark at the end. I think it works as an end to this series clearly there’s potential there.

“There would have to be lots of conversations. We need to talk – Suranne and I and lots of other people need to have lots of conversations and we’ll see.”

Doctor Foster season 3 spoilers: What might happen next?

Having milked their twisted love / hate dynamic for all its worth, Bartlett gave us a resolution to Gemma and Simon’s feud. “I won’t ever forgive you,” she says in series two’s last episode. “But we will both probably start to forget, and that’s enough.”

It appears that Doctor Foster as we know it – the torrid, absurd, but hugely compelling revenge thriller – is done.

But while the story of a scorned woman wreaking havoc on her unfaithful spouse might be over, that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit this damaged family unit in future, and further explore the emotional repercussions of their actions.

BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

It’s Tom’s fate that ends up being at the crux of series two’s climax, and what happens to him next could be the hook for future episodes. Simon’s fate is also left tantalisingly up in the air. Maybe he’d stick around, with Gemma’s blessing, to aid in the search?

The last time we see them together, they’re united, for the first time in a long time, in their concern over their missing son. It’s possible the hunt for Tom might reunite them – as allies, if not as a couple.

“That ending of series two leaves a lot open to come back to: where has the son Tom gone and what’s happening to him?” Bartlett has said. “What happens to the parents? That’s the sort of story territory we’d be in, but it’s not written yet.”

“Obviously I want Tom to come home,” Suranne Jones added. “I think it would be nice if they rectified their relationship,” Jones said. “I don’t know what her and Simon’s relationship would be, but it would be nice for her and Tom to rectify that.”

With filming unlikely to begin before 2019 – by which point actor Tom Taylor will be around 18 – there’ll also be the opportunity to explore Tom’s mental state as a young adult, as opposed to a troubled teenager.

Some fans have called for a BBC One drama crossover, with Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo) from The Missing aiding Gemma and Simon in the search for their son…

But we’re going to go out on a limb and say the odds of that are pretty slim. Even on a show as mad and unpredictable as Doctor Foster.

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Doctor Foster series 2: Meet the cast and characters

Gripping drama Doctor Foster returns to screens this autumn and promises to be just as compulsive viewing the second time around.

Suranna Jones, Bertie Carvel and Jodie Comer are all back along with some new faces for series two.

The story picks up two years after GP Gemma Foster discovered husband Simon’s affair with their friends’ daughter Kate and left him, taking their young son with her.

Viewers could have been forgiven for thinking that all was nicely wrapped up at the end of series one as Simon and pregnant girlfriend Kate began their new life together and Gemma began to pick up the pieces.#

But writer Mike Bartlett has promised that “no-one comes through hell unscathed”, leaving us wondering what the after-effects of her marriage breakdown will mean for Gemma and how she will exact her revenge.

Plot details are being kept top secret, so in the meantime, get to know the stars of this riveting series.

Suranne Jones – Gemma Foster

The lead character started series one believing that she was living the perfect life – until she discovered a blonde hair on her husband’s scarf and her world began to fall apart.

Everything in the original series led up to Gemma confronting Kate and her parents Susie and Chris Parks during a tense dinner party at their house, but now the secret is out and she has left Simon, what’s next for the GP?

In the sequel, viewers will see the fallout from a bitter split and the relationship between two people who hate each other but are still trying to raise a child together.

Jones is famous for her role in Coronation Street as Steve McDonald’s ex-wife Karen, which she played from 1997 to 2004.

After leaving the cobbles, she went on to land a starring role in detective series Scott & Bailey alongside Lesley Sharp, with the programme running for five years up until 2016.

Doctor Foster has taken a while to return after the first run because Jones welcomed her first child with husband Laurence Akers in March 2016.

Bertie Carvel – Simon Foster

Property developer Simon was having something of a mid-life crisis when we last saw him in 2015.

Living with his pregnant new girlfriend and still having to pass his ex Gemma in the street every day looked all kinds of awkward, which will surely have intensified in the two years in between.

Simon successfully duped his former wife into believing that he was the ideal husband, even enlisting her friends in the pretence, so plenty of viewers will be hoping to see him get his comeuppance this series.

Carvel is best known for his work in musical theatre and won an Olivier Award in 2012 as best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Miss Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical in the West End.

Viewers may also have seen Carvel on screen in the film adaptation of Les Miserables, where he played Bamatabois.

As well as his starring role in Doctor Foster in 2015, he also found small-screen fame as magician Jonathan Strange in the BBC One adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Jodie Comer – Kate Parks

Other woman Kate may not have made many fans during series one of Doctor Foster, but that could all be about to change, unlikely as it seems.

This time, viewers will get the chance to find out more about Kate and her side of events, rather than seeing a few snapshots of her sneaking around with Simon.

It’s possible that reality could be quite different to the image of Kate we’ve been given up to this point, so look out for some surprising revelations about the character.

Comer might be more recognisable to younger viewers as one of the stars of My Mad Fat Diary, where she played Chloe Gemell.

She appeared alongside Michael Palin in the 2014 mystery mini-series Remember Me, where she played a carer that his character became close to after moving into sheltered accommodation.

Other programmes viewers may have seen Comer in include Thirteen, in which she starred as a woman who had escaped from being imprisoned in a basement for years, and a TV adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 2015.

Neil Stuke – Chris Parks

Chris’s role extends to being more than just the dad of Simon’s much younger mistress – he is also a dodgy investor in Simon’s business.

As well as exposing her husband’s affair, Gemma also discovered that his property development business was in financial trouble and that Chris was a mystery investor who had a conflict of interest.

How will that affect the wealthy Parks two years on, and what will Chris and Simon’s relationship be now that Kate is involved?

Stuke’s most recognisable role was in 90s sitcom Game On where he played Matthew, but his other long-running parts have been in more serious shows.

He had a stint in The Bill between 2006 and 2007, and also featured in legal drama Silk as Billy Lamb.

Sara Stewart – Susie Parks

At the beginning of series one, things looked pretty rosy for well-off, glamorous Susie.

But now that she has had her eyes opened to her daughter’s controversial relationship and her husband’s dodgy business dealings, what will her future be?

It’s possible that life could be very different now for Susie and it will be interesting to see whether she has any continuing friendship with Gemma.

Stewart has appeared in a number of well-known TV series and films, including Fresh Meat, Sugar Rush and a TV adaptation of the Rebus books.

Her film credits include Batman Begins, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Philomena, and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Sian – Sian Brooke

The Sherlock star shocked us all this year, when she turned out to be the surprise third Holmes sibling in the BBC drama’s epic finale. She’s playing another mysterious character in Docter Foster, cast as new colleague for Gemma, Sian.

Details are being kept under wraps of her role in the show, but we can’t wait to see how she fits in with Gemma, Simon and Kate’s tangled web.

Martha Howe-Douglas – Becky

Simon’s PA kept his secrets for him in series 1 and she will return in series 2, but will she be friend or foe for Gemma?

Thusitha Jayasundera – Ros Mahendra

Writer Mike Bartlett has revealed that Gemma’s friend Ros, who betrayed her in series 1, will have her own storyline arc in the second series.

Tom Taylor – Tom Foster

Gemma and Simon’s son was caught up in the storm of series 1, but how will he have coped with the fall-out of his parents split. And how will he feel about his dad returning to town in series 2?

In episode one he ran away from his mom to move in with his dad, but we don’t know what has prompted this sudden change of heart.

Tom’s downward spiral, a result of his parents’ twisted and dark relationship is at the centre of the drama in series two. Is he slowly turning into a version of his father? And what has caused this change of heart?

Prasanna Puwanarajah – James

Gemma has a new boyfriend in series 2 – the mysterious James. Will it be true love for Gemma, or is just a distraction as she attempts to recover from the fall-out from series 1.

One online theory suggests that this new love interest could be another old pal of Simon’s, who is spying on Gemma for him. We prefer to hope that there are some nice men in Parminster.

The Bakers (Victoria Hamilton and Adam James)

Neil and Anna still live opposite Gemma. In the last two years they’ve worked hard to save their marriage. Neil still works in accounting and enjoys his comfortable, child-free lifestyle. But one thing has changed – his commitment to Anna.

After years of being serially unfaithful he has made a promise not to cheat, and they are happily discovering new activities together in a renewed relationship. Anna meanwhile has become even closer to Gemma (despite Gemma herself being one of Neil’s past liaisons). They meet often to put the world to rights over a glass of wine.

Tom also feels Anna is someone he can talk to and confide in. But if conflict between Simon and Gemma erupts, will the Bakers be sucked in again?

Episode 4 preview

Simon feels confident that he and Kate can finally live securely, free from Gemma’s shadow. But can Kate really trust him?

Doctor Foster airs Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC One.

Catch up on BT TV via the BBC iPlayer app.

Buy and own series one on BT TV Store now.

Doctor Foster: A Woman Scorned

Suranne’s theatre credits include TOP GIRLS at Chichester and then the West End. A FEW GOOD MEN at Theatre Royal Haymarket with Rob Lowe for which she received Theatre Goers’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress, BLITHE SPIRIT and TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. Suranne played the role of Sandra in BEAUTIFUL THING at the Arts Theatre and in 2014 played the lead role in ORLANDO at the Royal Exchange.

Most recent television work includes BBC Ones’s hugely successful 5 part drama DR FOSTER in which she plays Gemma Foster and for which she has just been nominated for a BAFTA in the Leading Actress category. Other recent television work includes three series of the very popular Scott & Bailey playing Rachel Bailey opposite Lesley Sharpe for ITV, with the fourth series due to air shortly. Also the comedy show THE BRIAN PERN SHOW and the drama series THE CRIMSON FIELD both for BBC.

Other television work includes DR WHO for which Suranne received acclaim for her portrayal of Idris, a humanoid incarnation of the iconic Tardis, the critically applauded UNFORGIVEN for ITV, and VINCENT with Ray Winstone. Suranne’s TV credits also include FIVE DAYS, DEAD CLEVER, STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL, SINGLE FATHER and CORONATION STREET in which she played the unforgettable Karen McDonald.

Well, I was partially right. Mike Bartlett did, in the end, detonate the Tom bomb as his parents’ self-absorbed awfulness finally drove him to desperate measures. But not, thank the gods, to the ultimate desperate measure.

The body count (mercifully) remains at zero as the curtain falls on this most theatrical of sagas. But how did we get here? The rest of us know, but his parents seem confused.


We left Gemma last week, veering her SUV towards Simon as he walked along that deserted forest road. Would you have blamed her if she’d turned him to roadkill and buried his sorry ass in the woods?

Instead she finally puts Poor Tom first and races Simon back to the hotel, determined to get Tom out of harm’s way before his dad arrives and tries to drive another wedge between them.

Arriving too late, Simon stands in the hotel car park glowering while a child’s ride tinkles away in the background, its queasily jolly theme tune at odds with the tragedy playing out yards away.

Gemma’s motives in these last sequences are as confused as she is. She hurries Tom away but knows Simon will find them because they’ve gone home to the house they once shared, full of memories.

She changes the locks but opens the door to her now broken ex-husband, knowing the only way to finish this once and for all is to talk. “Stay away from him,” Gemma warns as the emotionally volatile patriarch looms at his son, eyes wild with unpredictability.

“You’re using me to get at her,” says Tom, finally slicing his dad’s smug countenance in two like a Samurai blade. It’s the first time he’s vocalised his hatred of being a pawn in his parents’ hateful game.

“You should stab yourself,” hisses Gemma as Simon suggests he’d like to stab her in the eyes. Their hatred has reached a pitch beyond which there is only violence and her grabbing of the scissors is the inevitable (madly theatrical) next step.

In Gemma’s flashbacks, they are a normal family – familiar, irreverent and teasing one another. How could the pendulum have swung so far from the domestic bliss of these visions? Is it all Simon’s fault or is Bartlett (through Simon) trying to lay some blame on the working mother, trying to have it all? I shifted uncomfortably in my seat during Simon’s suggestion that Tom would like to see more of his mum.

By the time Simon comes to haunt them again, at their meal out with Ros and her new husband, he is human wreckage, thumping the restaurant window. “It should be me in there,” he says uselessly before suggesting to Gemma, quite seriously, that they should just forget about all this and get back together.

“We are as bad as each other,” he tells her. “We could decide to be a family again. It’s not too late,” he continues – and for a minute I wonder if she’s mad enough to accept.

“I should choke you to death,” he says, reverting to type after she viciously rejects him. And then comes the worst cut of all as Tom joins in. “You’re a massive failure,” son tells father, burning the last of Simon’s bridges.

Poor Tom dodges yet more shrapnel of his parent’s awful, violent ways. Photograph: BBC/Drama Republic/Laurence Cendrowicz

Unbelievably, through all of this, James is still hanging in there and gives Gemma a pair of earrings to which she is completely indifferent. His insistence that they keep seeing each other is the final nail in the coffin of their relationship, as Gemma explains she doesn’t need someone to fix her (er, she does).

Tom’s midnight flit in a taxi prefigures his eventual flight from Parminster and panics her sufficiently when she hears that a desperate Simon is with him. However much Tom hates his dad’s actions, he responds to his emotional blackmail and ends up by a busy dual carriageway, watching Pops play chicken with the oncoming traffic.

Rather than pulling the same stunt on Gemma that she pulled on him – are we calling this a reverse Medea? – Simon wants Poor Tom to somehow give him a reason not to end it all.

When Gemma catches up with them, she drags Simon out of harm’s way and persuades him with a forceful, “Not like this,” suggesting she’ll help him if he’s really intent on ending it all, away from the terrified gaze of his son.

The three go for the world’s bleakest meal, Simon ordering whisky and Pepsi (dear lord) and Gemma telling the cheerful waitress that he’ll also have an English breakfast with mustard and brown sauce. If the intravenous drugs don’t kill him, the acid reflux will.

And we finally find out what Simon told Tom to make him leave his mum all those weeks ago – that she abandoned him as a baby during a particularly bad bout of post-natal depression. Not enough on its own, but for Poor Tom it only compounded the feeling that she never really wanted him. Why else would she spend all that time at the surgery?

When Gemma returns from her mystery mission to the car park, it becomes clear she has set up a one-woman portable Dignitas in the hotel room so Simon can quietly pop off having said his goodbyes and wiped up the last of that brown sauce. Impressive that Simon can always eat, no matter how black the void into which he is staring.

“Bye Tom,” he says as Gemma asks him to follow the instructions she’s left for him. This is unbelievable. None of them really want this do they? Tom cries desperately in the passenger seat. Surely Simon can get better? Why such a hopeless resolution?

Gemma’s eleventh hour decision to stop him is bang on time for Simon, but too late for Poor Tom. While his mum idly flicks through her messages, he has made the cleanest of breaks, leaving his mobile on the passenger seat and walking away from his mad parents forever.

He leaves Gemma a message with one final, devastating, “Love you”.

We’ve been watching these maniacs hack away at each other for four episodes as Poor Tom sat between them, dodging the shrapnel. How could they not have noticed his utter despair?

That closing speech of Gemma’s to camera is an unashamedly theatrical flourish only missing a red velvet curtain falling to wild applause as she finishes. “I’m here. Tom, I’m your mum. I’m sorry and I’m here. I’ll always be here waiting. When you want to come back. Whenever you want to come back.” She looks hopefully out on to the empty garden in an ending which reminded me of the superb National Treasure, where Robbie Coltrane’s desperate Paul Finchley searches in vain for his wife at the party to celebrate his “not guilty” verdict.


For me, the story of Doctor Foster is done. Yes, the potential for a sequel exists while Tom roams the streets and Gemma shivers pensively in a turtleneck. And Simon is, presumably, still out there somewhere, putting his life back together.

But I have feasted on their misery long enough. It was delicious, but I’m full.

Time of death – 23.00, Tuesday 3 October 2017.


• Of all the characters who need a good therapist after this, I’m most concerned about James and his need to throw himself at emotionally unavailable women. I bet his mum was a nightmare.

• I liked the shrinking of focus down to just Gemma, Simon and Tom in the last episode. The scenes between Bertie Carvell and Suranne Jones packed such a punch.

• Hands up if you thought Poor Tom had committed suicide when the sirens swelled on the soundtrack and Gemma approached that dual carriageway?

• Gemma Foster isn’t Medea. It was Mike Bartlett all along, constantly making us think he’d murdered a child. I knew he wouldn’t go through with it.

• She never did make it to Gloucester.

  • If you have difficulty locating your child after placement or arranging visits with your child, call the ACS Office of Advocacy at (212) 676-9421.
  • The Foster Care Agency

    While your child is in ACS care, a foster care agency will oversee your case and refer you to services that can help with the issues that led to the placement of your child in foster care.

    • Once you and your child are assigned to a foster care agency, the agency case planner will work with you and your family to develop a comprehensive assessment and a service plan which will include visiting, as well as other services such as counseling and medical evaluations depending on the l circumstances of your case.
    • You will attend Service Plan Review conferences every 6 months over the life of your case to plan for services to help your child to return home.
    • However, if, after time, you have not complied with the service plan and your child remains in foster care, ACS and the foster care agency may be required by law to consider asking the Court to permanently place your child with a relative or an adoptive parent.

    The Family Court

    While your child is in ACS care, you will be able to attend Family Court hearings which are essential to your child returning home. You will be notified about these hearings, and your foster care agency case planner will have ongoing discussions with you about the progress of your case.

    • You have the right to have a lawyer with you in Court. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.
    • You have a right to an initial hearing to decide whether your child will continue to remain in foster care. After your child has been in care for approximately 6-8 months, the Family Court will hold a “permanency hearing” to review your case.
    • After the first permanency hearing, there will be a permanency hearing every 6 months while your child is in care.
    • If your child remains placed out of your care for 15 out of the most recent 22 months, and ACS or the foster care agency determine that you are still unable to resume caring for your child, ACS or the foster care agency may be required to file a termination of parental rights (TPR) petition to permanently terminate your rights to your child.
    • After the TPR has been filed, you have a right to appeal that decision within 60 days. Your lawyer can help you file for a suspended judgment. This can stop the TPR process if you can show that you have been complying with your service plan.

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    Get Help

    If your child is in foster care or is going to be placed in foster care, we know that this can be a stressful time for you and your child and that you may feel overwhelmed or intimidated.

    For help with your case, or to resolve any issues with your foster care agency, call the ACS Office of Advocacy at (212) 676-9421.

    For more information, read The Parent Handbook – A Guide for Parents with Children in Foster Care

    New York State Family Court System

    • General information about the five NYC Family Courts, including contact information, maps, transit and driving directions, and hours of operation.
    • Links to all New York State Family Court Forms.
    • Information about court procedures.
    • Answers to frequently asked questions about Family Court services.

    For more information, visit NYC Family Court

    Parent Advocacy

    You should consult with your attorney about any and all legal questions you may have about your case. You have a right to appeal any decision that the Family Court Judge makes, and you should consult with your attorney about the specifics of your case.

    The following organizations may help parents with information on concerns about foster care. ACS is not affiliated with these organizations. This is not legal advice and is strictly for informational purposes only.

    Center for Family Representation
    Families on the Move of NYC
    Family Resource Centers
    Brooklyn Defenders
    Bronx Defenders
    Neighborhood Defender Project of Harlem
    Legal Aid Juvenile Rights Division

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    Doctor Foster series 2 episode 1 review: Gemma faces the party from hell

    After the dinner party from hell in series one, Suranne Jones’ Gemma Foster begins series two by wading into the wedding party from hell.


    And, just as with that unforgettable get-together in series one of Doctor Foster, she was a wolf once more. Though by the end of episode one, she appears to be very much on the back foot, dissolving her wedding ring in a tub of acid as she considers her next move in a field of limited options.

    • Where is Parminster? Is the town in Doctor Foster a real place?
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    Gemma’s marriage disappeared in series one, but now it looks like her wayward ex-husband Simon has designs on their son Tom who was whisked away at the end of the episode and appeared happily ensconced in the home of his dad, new wife Kate (Jodie Comer) and their young child.

    The series one story of Gemma’s fightback against Simon’s infidelity has morphed into a series two fight-to-the-death custody battle.

    Events began rather sedately with a snapshot of life in the commuter town. It was a red-letter day – bright missives were being sent round the place – but it didn’t take much to guess that they heralded Gemma’s worst nightmare. And there it was, just about the smuggest message to get her teeth grinding: “We’re back and we’re married”. The jolt that Simon was returning to Parminster after two years away with new bride Kate and a baby.

    Gathered together in his “£1m house” in The Acres were all the people Gemma knew, including her colleague Roz (who had promised she wasn’t going) and she was having none of it.

    Enlisting her hunky date, who just happened to teach her son Tom, she turned up to the party desperate to cause as much havoc as possible, swigging wine, wandering around the house, even snooping in Kate’s drawers and playing with her sex aid.

    At one point she brushed up close to Simon, teasing him sexually, “playing games” as she put it in a way which she probably wanted to demonstrate her elusiveness and panache but rather suggested that she had somewhat lost the plot.

    Her earlier pleas to her son Tom not to attend the do and tearful voicemail message (“I don’t think your Dad’s being…very fair”) also seemed to be straight out of the ‘how not to parent’ handbook – the one that teaches divorced parents not to use their offspring as emotional crutches. (It actually has a word – “parentification” – by the way).

    Meanwhile, Simon sneered at her that she hadn’t moved on. She wears the same clothes, she does nothing more than work and return home, he goaded, failing to acknowledge that many single parents probably find it hard and expensive to do much else.

    Being the same Gemma, if a little more bruised and perhaps slightly less sympathetic, she’s still a wolf, of course. And we saw her bare her teeth – quite literally – during a meeting with annoying new doctor Sian (Sian Brooke) who has joined her Parminster practice. Gemma also hasn’t lost that nervous tic of scratching her hand – reaching nervously to the finger where her wedding ring once perched.

    Simon is right in one sense. Her life has been on hold, although the suggestion now seems to be that she’s had a kick-start. Gemma works best when she has a mission.

    Sometimes I feel that Doctor Foster didn’t need a second series; that Gemma is doing ever more unhinged things (like housebreaking) in order to push the plot along. Couldn’t we have left her where she was at the end of series one, bruised but defiant and having just saved a man who had had a heart attack?

    But now we’re back, things have been set up nicely in a show which, despite its moments of histrionics, brilliantly takes apart the lives and delusions of the comfortably well-heeled. Simon’s smug set-up will surely come under fire. I also suspect there will be some more probing on how he has found such wealth – he had some dodgy business dealings with Kate’s father in series one, so what’s he been up to now to afford his luxury pad? Emotional dishonesty has leeched into his business dealings with the past. Will that be Gemma’s best way to get him? I’m certainly keen to find out…

    Are you happy with the return of Doctor Foster? Let us know in the poll below…


    This article was originally published in September 2017