Review: Our Girl

After weeks of mind-numbing reality TV and pointless celebrity talent shows, it was a relief to see that BBC One was dedicating a Sunday night spot to a hard hitting drama. The BBC have produced some good dramas in the past year and so I decided to give ‘Our Girl’ a try.

Lacey Turner, the 24 year-old actress best known for playing Stacey Slater in Eastenders, portrayed Molly, a young girl living in Newham, London who decides to join the army. After a turbulent start in the British Army, Molly begins to turn her life around, making and losing friends as she goes along. Her family and love life is also troubled, and although the programme followed a somewhat familiar formula, this drama was surprisingly refreshing.

For the most part, Turner’s performance of Molly was fantastic. The first ten minutes, which presented viewers with footage of the lead character vomiting on the street and arguing with her family were reminiscent of her role in Eastenders, but as ‘Our Girl’ progressed, she transformed from a stroppy teenager to a top solider. Prior to this role, Turner apparently visited army barracks and watched new recruits in basic training, giving her a good idea of what life in the army is really like. This seems to have paid off and she certainly provided a raw and realistic performance of the character. It was also nice to see Lacey’s familiar brown hair return halfway through the programme too, rather than the terrible peroxide blonde look that her character had been sporting in the earlier scenes.

There were some rather poignant scenes throughout the drama, which can often be hard to find in dramas similar to this. Undoubtedly the best was when Molly and her fellow recruits visited Flanders… the words of a veteran followed by an emotional phone call to her mother was particularly moving and probably some of Turner’s best work to date. ‘Derek’s Kerry Godliman played the role of Molly’s mother, showing again some great casting and characterisation. Furthermore, the backdrop of the London borough of Newham provided a modern setting for the drama and was juxtaposed by the final scenes where we saw Molly deployed to Afghanistan.

The ending was upsetting, but in some ways expected. When Molly received a visit from her mother while in training, I had suspected it was something of a goodbye but still, in the final scene it provoked surprise. The BBC should produce more dramas like this- the best programmes are the ones that have a lasting effect. Not only was it topical and suitable for a wide audience, but the acting was great and the storyline gripping, a nice change from the usual weekend TV.

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