I was looking forward to the new drama Trust Me (BBC 1, Tuesday nights) – it looked promising from the trailers and starred Jodie Whittaker, impressive as the bereaved mother in Broadchurch, and soon to become the new Doctor Who (more on the gender issue later).
Here she plays a nurse who turns whistle-blower but is victimised and suspended for her trouble (that’s not the implausible bit!). Then, whatever conscience prompted her concern for neglected patients was abandoned and she pretended to be a doctor – stealing the identity of a doctor friend who was emigrating.
I’m not sure whether it is the character or the scriptwriter that was so naive in thinking this would work – the very idea that no one would recognise her or know the departed doctor or look up images on the internet stretches credulity.
Being a good nurse, she passes muster for a while and draws people by her warm personality, but finally, in last week’s episode the colleague she is having an affair with finally does check her out on the web.
Warm or not, her moral compass is in terminal decline, and there’s no way it can end well, is there?
For all that, it holds the attention, largely thanks to Whittaker’s performance, but the gruesome medical scenes and the tension inherent in her duplicity make for uncomfortable viewing.
With modern gender obsession so prevalent it was no surprise to find a programme No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender-Free? (Part 1, BBC 2, Wednesday of last week). I’d question the ethics of Dr Javid Abdelmoneim taking over a Year 3 Primary School class (seven-year olds) to see if teaching without what he regarded as gender-loaded language and stereotypes would equalise outcomes.
I’d suspect this is very much a minority interest and anyway, such a short, localised study wasn’t that much more than gimmicky and I think he went into the show with too many preconceptions, so it became more preachy than exploratory.
I had no problem, however, with him identifying poor self-esteem or poor perceived intelligence in girls – they did better than they thought they would in selected activities, while the boys tended to overestimate their abilities.
There were interesting angles on the age old debate about how much nature and nurture influence our upbringing.
Apart from basic biological differences Dr Abdelmoneim wanted to erase all differences between the boys and girls. Offending books were removed from the class library! Strangely some of the covers were blurred out. Gender stereotypes relating to work were challenged, e.g. they were introduced to a female magician, a female mechanic, a male dancer, a male make-up artist and that’s fair enough, but just because a seven-year-old has stereotyped notions doesn’t mean they’ll carry these harmfully into later life.
I thought the doctor was rather alarmist about the issues and it was all too much like him being the messiah figure bringing enlightenment to these allegedly rigid little thinkers. Actually, the children were the stars of the show, very endearing, and I felt it was rather off for them to have this agenda-driven social engineering experiment visited on them.
Finally, last week I wrote about America’s Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, whose leadership styles don’t exactly give the male gender a good name. On Channel 4 News (Wednesday of last week)there was a detailed report on another dodgy leader – President Rodrigo Duterte of The Philippines.
I had heard of his ruthless attitude to drug dealers and here he was giving speeches to his army, urging them to kill – “If you have to shoot, shoot them dead”. The evening before, a record number of 32 people, allegedly involved in the drugs trade, had been killed in what reporter Jonathan Miller described as “this nightly back alley bloodbath”.
Duterte’s claim that he had killed some himself in the past was reported, and, in regard to complaints, he referred to “human rights idiots”.
He intimidated critics in the media, judiciary and Church, insulted Pope Francis and yet apparently was still popular.
Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was in detention, a human rights lawyer said the authoritarian régime was conducting a “war on the rule of law”, and Fr Amado Picardal of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the Duterte régime “reflects the worst version of ourselves”, was brutal and “lacks mercy and compassion”.
Pick of the week
THE CHOICES WE FACE
EWTN, Sunday, August 27, 9.30am
The CEO and President of Life Teen shares his own story of deeper conversion and how Life Teen is helping teens advance in their faith.
RTĖ One, Sunday, August 27, 11am
Fr Martin Noone celebrant, with a congregation from Dublin Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Group.
The Late Late Show
RTĖ One, Friday, September 1, 9.35pm
The longest continuously running chat show in the world returns for a 56th series of chat, music and craic.