Breathless (ITV 2013 Series)

3 Kernels

Stars: Jack Davenport,  Catherine Steadman, Zoe Boyle
AXED!  I wanted to give this a 3.5 rating, though I almost gave it four.  Finally after watching the last episode of Season 1 and being left hanging, the show was cancelled.  Bummer!

Breathless is really the UK’s attempt at a Mad Men type of story set in the 1950’s. It is almost humorously similar in some ways, but since I was raised in the 50’s, I always get private enjoyment of watching the hey-day of my mother and father recreated on screen.

My particular giggle was one scene in Episode 1 where all the men on the block get in their cars and drive away for work at the same time.  Standing on the sidewalk are their wives, wearing their day dresses, looking primp and proper, and waving at them goodbye.  Some know how to keep occupied in their roles as housewives, while others who have given up careers to marry are bored to death.  

The story is about a group of men and women – doctors, nurses, wives – who live out their secrets but are intertwined with one another in many ways.  Jack Davenport plays the dreamy Otto Powell, who is the best doctor on staff, a man filled with wisdom and deep regret, in a marriage of convenience, and has a longing for one of the new nurses on the staff. His attempts to woo her throughout the series doesn’t succeed until the end.  The outcome I will not spoil.

Otto, you see, has a dark secret. He has tried to redeem himself, but falls prey to an inspector who is back in his life and out for blood. How that entire matter plays out is slightly disturbing and shocking to say the least.  It was a great disappointment to me that the show was cancelled, because it left a huge gap of what the future would hold for Otto and his family.  Perhaps I should write a sequel.

The show does deal also with abortion as Otto and his side-kick doctor take trips in the dead of night to relieve women of the mistakes they’ve made or the inconvenience of bringing a child into the world. Even though abortion is illegal, he continues to put himself at risk, along with his anesthesiologist friend and a nurse. For some it’s a matter of principle and others a way to earn extra money. It may be controversial to some viewers, so be prepared to handle it. In addition to the subject matter above, you’ll be exposed to 1950’s thinking in the medical world about female health and gynecology. 

In any event, I found the show fairly entertaining and enjoyable, since it’s right up my alley age-wise.  Though not the greatest in British TV, I still would have enjoyed a second season.

Now streaming on Amazon free for Prime members.

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