Robson Green stars as Dr. Owen Springer, an upstart English surgeon who finds a new job and lucks into the love of his life--who just happens to be his boss's wife--on Reckless, a deliciously romantic tale written by Paul Abbott (Cracker).
Francesca Annis plays Anna Fairley, the married woman who spurns Owen's every advance until he exposes a compromising secret involving her husband, Dr. Richard Crane, played with exquisite arrogance by Michael Kitchen. The plot thickens as Richard tries to find out who is at the bottom of his marital meltdown.
English critics were charmed by the steamy plot, which The Guardian hailed as "a drama without murder, psychopaths or psychiatrists stealing the scene, just people flinging their clothes off and going with the flow of messy passions."
On a more elevated note, The Sunday Times called it "a wonderfully made and performed modern version of a Georgian love story, with all the bits the Austen-Brontës never got to try because they lived in the country."
Robson Green is England's foremost television heartthrob, evoking auspicious comparison with the young Paul Newman. He's number one on the British pop music charts, too, in the group Robson & Jerome (with fellow actor Jerome Flynn), belting out such old standards as "Up on the Roof," which was a 1960s hit for The Drifters.
Masterpiece Theatre fans will remember Francesca Annis from two other adulterous roles: as Lillie Langtry in the wildly popular series Lillie; and in the title role of the Flaubert classic, Madame Bovary.
One of Britain's leading screen actors, Michael Kitchen, has done noteworthy turns on Masterpiece Theatre as well, appearing in To Play the King, The Buccaneers, Dandelion Dead, and last season's A Royal Scandal.
As the story unfolds, Manchester-bound Owen borrows a cell phone from fellow passenger Anna to call his ailing dad (David Bradley). He is moving in with the feisty old man to keep an eye on his incorrigible working-class ways. This means finding a new job, so Owen applies for a local surgical post and is horrified to learn that he must pass a personality assessment administered by a management consulting firm. Little does he know that the head of this outfit is Anna.
She rates him eminently unsuitable, but he gets the job anyway. His medical colleagues (Conor Mullen and Julian Rhind-Tutt) are convivial enough, but his new boss, Richard, is a pathologically ruthless super-doctor.
Meanwhile, Owen has been nursing a burgeoning crush on Anna--older and happily married to be sure, but the sexiest woman he has ever met. It seems a bit of a coincidence when she turns out to run the psyche-rating firm, but he is already deeply in love by the time he learns she is Richard's wife. No matter, he decides, and keeps chipping away at her crumbling defenses.
She is his at last when he discovers a secret liaison between Richard and an officious hospital administrator (Daniela Nardini). Anna learns the news through a cleverly designed trap, and the unfaithful Richard gets locked out of the house. Now it is his turn to crumble--into self-pity, blame-seeking, and a thirst to destroy his suspected rival...whoever he is.
"There could be trouble ahead," cautions The Sunday Times "and a lot of people will want to witness it."
Reckless is a production of Granada Television. It is written by Paul Abbott, who produced and wrote several episodes of the original Cracker series, and directed by David Richards and Sarah Harding. The producer is Sita Williams, with Carolyn Reynolds as executive producer.
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