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Replacement, The (BBC-1 2017, Morven Christie, Vicky McClure)

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The Replacement is set in Glasgow and follows the paranoia of a woman who sees her identity being dismantled and can’t work out whether the cause is another woman or her own baby.

Ellen gets unexpectedly pregnant just after landing a big contract for her architects’ practice. She hopes to be away for the shortest time and hires someone to cover the gap. Paula is the same age as Ellen but already has a ten year old daughter. She made the opposite life choice, took a big chunk of her career out to dedicate herself full time to her child.

As Paula shadows Ellen for the last months of her pregnancy, she at first seems the perfect hire: enthusiastic, personable, super-competent. But Ellen soon begins to worry Paula has another agenda. Paula refuses to believe Ellen when she says she plans to return in a couple of months. She’s confident Ellen will change her mind when she falls in love with her baby. Ellen thinks that maybe Paula doesn’t want her back. Ever.

Ellen becomes increasingly disturbed by Paula’s subtle manipulations at the office. She sees Paula ingratiate herself with bosses and client, move in on her friends. Ellen begins to see her less as a support and more of a rival. But no-one else sees the Paula Ellen sees. They see a lovely bright decent woman doing her best to cover for Ellen. They all think Ellen is being paranoid, even her own husband doubts her state of mind. She is after all pregnant.

Only Ellen can see that Paula seems more obsessed about the pregnancy than she is. And the more she voices her fears, the more she alienates everyone around her. When a terrible accident strikes the firm, Ellen cannot accept the police verdict and pursues the person she believes responsible.

production details
UK | BBC One – Left Bank Pictures | 3×60 minutes | Broadcast 28 February – 14 March 2017

Writer and Director: Joe Aherne
Producer: Nicole Cauverien

cast
Morven Christie as Ellen Rooney
Vicky McClure as Paula Reece
Dougray Scott as David Warnock
Richard Rankin as Ian Rooney
Neve McIntosh as Kay Gillies
Navin Chowdhry as Keiran
Kim Allan as Lucy
Gilly Gilchrist as Vernon
Siobhan Redmond as Beth
Sarah MacRae as Rianne
Euan MacNaughton as DS Colin Lockheid
Lexie McLean as Nina
Caoimhe Clough as Zoe