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“Excellent - a must-see”

Written on: 25/03/2013 by lizterry (2 reviews written)

This one-off drama on BBC1 last night (24th March 2013, 9pm) was really excellent and has had me thinking about it all morning.
Molly (played brilliantly by Lacey Turner of Eastenders fame) is am 18 year old girl who is dissatisfied with her life, working in a nail bar during the day and getting drunk at night with her mates. She sees her parent's unhappy marriage and the way her mother continues to push out babies while her useless Dad sits on the sofa claiming sickness benefits for a bad back. She can only see the same fate for herself, as her philandering Albanian boyfriend tries to get her to marry him, increasingly piling on the pressure until she can't stand it any more.
Whilst sitting in a tattoo parlour, having his name removed from her arm, she realises that there is an army recruitment office directly opposite. She ventures inside, and so starts her journey to become a soldier.
When the first part of her army training begins, she's all set to be the "class clown", mucking about and not really taking it seriously. So far, so predictable. There's also her dishy corporal (played by Matthew McNulty) who, of course, she has some chemistry with. I rolled my eyes internally, and assumed that they would get together by the end. I almost switched off at this point, but having read a very positive advance review in the Radio Times, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.
I'm so glad I did! The storyline was incredibly clever, with Molly almost imperceptibly finding the woman inside herself through her training. A couple of times she goes back, despite orders, to help other recruits, and in one memorable scene actually saves a life. My prediction of a romance doesn't happen at all, in fact they simply become good friends and he becomes her mentor, which, given his senior rank, was much more believable.
The final scene, where Molly finally writes her "letter from the grave" (to be sent to her parents if she's killed in action), her voice intercut with her parents watching another female soldier's body being received at Brize Norton, was extremely effective and moving.
One to catch up on if you can, before it disappears from the i-player.

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