Cast your minds back and you might remember us raving about BBC One’s single drama Our Girl. It was gritty, real, emotional, heart-warming and fiercely honest. Up until this point in her post EastEnders career we’d watched Lacey Turner flit from one disappointing TV project to another, none of which allowed her to show off her talents. You can imagine our delight when the BBC announced that Our Girl would be returning for a full series.
So here, wide-eyed innocent Molly (Turner) and the neatest plait in the world head off to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where she will Help Make the World a Better Place.
Unfortunately for Molly, among her new colleagues is mouthy Welsh squaddie Smurf (Iwan Rheon), who wastes no time taking the piss out of her but proves he’s a decent guy by not revealing to the rest of the unit that they’ve “Done It.” Even worse for the bunch of loud-mouthed, skin-headed troop, our Moll has a mahoosive case of the jitters after seeing a badly injured marine brought into the camp hospital. Bodes well for the lads then, given she’s their medic. This opener has a different tone to the original but it works well as Molly is thrust into her troop.
Things get worse when loose-lipped Molly confides her fears for Smurf’s mental health to the dashing Cap’n James (Ben Aldridge). Before you can say “close ranks”, the boys send her to Coventry, giving the cap’n the perfect opportunity to dispense a few pearls of wisdom.
Things don’t improve when the troop is shipped out to their post. It may be in the arse-end of nowhere, but apparently it’s crawling with Taliban, land mines and cunning spies in the form of doe-eyed young girls.
Into all of this Molly is thrust – and gets a chance to prove her mettle when Smurf gets shot in the middle of a minefield. She dashes in to save him, insisting that even though she’s a female, she doesn’t want “special treatment” and is promptly blown 30 feet into the air by a mine. Talk about keeping the audience on their toes!
I have to be honest with you I up until these final tense and action packed fifteen minuets I was feeling slightly disconnected from Our Girl. Don’t get me wrong, Lacey’s performance still drew me in but I didn’t feel anything for her predicament or her colleagues. Luckily writer Tony Grounds kept me on my toes and I was quite literally on the edge of my seats as our courageous medic came to the rescue of her injured colleague.
I was hooked again! Some may question whether this 5-part drama has been given a fair shot by Auntie Beeb as they’ve decided to schedule it against the ever-mighty Downton Abbey but as a non Downton fan I found this an interesting alternative that I’ll be sticking with for the entire run. It proves once more that given the write vehicle Lacey Turner is a true talent with the ability to hold an audience with a single look to camera. I just hope that ITV’s mighty period drama doesn’t mean that Our Girl is simply forgotten because it’s an important piece of drama that the BBC should be proud of.
Our Girl Continues Sunday at 9.00pm on BBC ONE.