THE writer of Doctor Foster has admitted an unusual source of inspiration for the hit BBC show – a 2,500 year old Greek Myth.
Mike Bartlett admitted to the Radio Times that the character of Gemma Foster, played by ex-Corrie star Suranne Jones, came to him after he wrote a theatre adaption of Medea in 2012.
Medea, a character in a play by classical playwrite Euripides, ends up killing her own sons as she takes violent revenge for her husband’s infidelity.
He told the mag: “In the original pitch, I never actually said, ‘We’re going to do Medea at 9pm on BBC1,’, because it probably wouldn’t have gone down very well.
“But that idea was always behind it.
“I wanted to take some of those misogynist ideas about mad women and witches, and hopefully subvert them.
“I get upset when people describe Gemma as mad. I don’t think she is; she’s just very angry.
“If it was a man behaving like that, you wouldn’t say he was mad. You’d say he was fighting back.”
The Greek essence of the show also explains why each of the two series have just five episodes rather than the four or six we usually see with TV shows.
This is a nod to the five acts you find in classical drama.
Just like Medea, Gemma has exacted all sorts of revenge on her philandering husband, including ruining his marriage to the mistress who destroyed hers.
However, don’t expect to see Gemma slaughtering her teenage son Tom if the show comes back for series three, Mike has a more modern scenario in mind.
He said: “I was thinking of a western: Gemma and Simon facing off at high noon in the main street of a town that isn’t big enough for both of them.”
The Greek legend of Medea
MEDEA helped Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece in exchange for him marrying her at the end of his tasks.
After ploughing a field with fire-breathing oxen, forcing an army made from dragon’s teeth to kill each other and killing a dragon, it was time for them to sail in to the sunset.
They arrived in Crete, where Medea conspired to kill King Pelias by tricking them in to believing that if they cut him up and put him in a pot, he would come back to life as a young man.
On the run, Jason and Medea arrived in Corinth and their happy union came to an end when he abandoned her for king’s daughter Glauce.
Medea sent Glauce a dress and crown that were soaked in poison, which killed her as she put them on, and also her father as he tried to save her.
But there was more, with the Corinthians killing two of her five sons in revenge, and two more dying at her own hands.
Viewers were left disappointed with last night’s finale, branding it “a waste of time”.