24/03/2013 23:03 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

Our Girl: Lacey Turner superb in BBC army drama

TV review: Lacey Turner gives a powerful performance in the lead role of one-off BBC drama, Our Girl.


Lacey Turner in Our Girl (© Lacey Turner in Our Girl. Image. BBC)


Summary

Our Girl is a single drama about Molly Dawes (played by Lacey Turner), an 18-year-old from a rundown London council estate who joins the Army to escape her wastrel family and friends.

Highlight

A number of scenes stood out, such as Molly's early ice-breaker in front of her fellow recruits, but I think my favourite was her early morning heart-to-heart with kindly Corporal Geddings (Misfits' Matthew McNulty) while on adventure training in a forest.

Lowlight

There were some clunky moments and weird shortcuts in the storyline, but my biggest complaint was Molly's clichéd family (pregnant mum, layabout dad) and the malformed idea to give her a Muslim boyfriend.

Full review

I wasn't expecting to enjoy Our Girl based on the first 20 minutes in which Lacey Turner effectively reprised her impudent EastEnders character, Stacey Slater.

"Lacey Turner effectively reprised her impudent EastEnders character"

In addition, there were so many clichéd elements about her working class family - pregnant mum Belinda (Derek's Kerry Godliman), benefit-cheating racist dad Sean (Dave Dawes) - you felt the writer's rather heavy hand.

And, to an extent, this drama never quite managed to surprise, despite threatening to end on a courageously downbeat note (wisely avoided from the perspective of promoting the armed forces).

However, Molly's transformation from cheeky party-goer to a soldier with self-respect and discipline, still managed to be entertaining and occasionally quite moving.

Lacey Turner made this drama excel, and the decision to cast an actress still synonymous with a bolshie soap tearaway was a masterstroke.

In a parallel to Molly's development, Our Girl felt like Lacey was trying to exorcise the ghost of Stacey Slater and prove there's more to her.

I'm not sure her range as an actress is especially broad, but she's certainly blessed with an enviable talent to communicate emotion extremely well.

Lacey Turner dominates

Whenever Lacey Turner was on-screen, you couldn't help but get drawn into Molly's perspective - no matter how hackneyed some of the situations were (like a table tennis match with a cheating male recruit, that immediately cut to an outdoor shag).

Our Girl also worked as an idealised piece of British Army propaganda (including a war veteran giving a eulogy to the fallen at Flanders), but there's nothing wrong with that.

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I'm sure many young people will watch Our Girl and feel compelled to visit a local Armed Forces Careers Office, which can only be a good thing for many.

I particularly liked the relationship between Molly and handsome Cpl Gedding, which started frosty but grew into mutual admiration.

Tony Grounds' script didn't exactly rewrite the drama rulebook, but sometimes it's comforting to watch certain formulas play out.

The story took some shortcuts and wasn't wholly convincing at times, but the spirited performances held everything together.

Sure it was sentimental and pockmarked with soapy clichés, but Our Girl was also highly entertaining and well cast.

  • Verdict: Lacey Turner was the expected standout in what amounted to a clever Army recruitment video.

    Star grade


What other reviewers said

The Times - "I'm a fan of An Officer and a Gentleman and I was won over by Our Girl."

Time Out - "By about 9.45pm, Lacey Turner will probably be the only reason you're sticking with Our Girl."

What people on Twitter said

‏@ianwylie59m - "Lacey Turner even more exceptional in Our Girl the second time around, having first seen drama at press launch."

@TVKev (Daily Mirror's Kevin O'Sullivan - "If you're Interested in a military career there's an army recruitment propaganda film on BBC1 at 9pm called Our Girl. Script by the MoD...."

@yog0524m - "Brilliant @LaceyTurner #OurGirl played part well. Excellent drama film makes me proud my daughter was in British Army."


The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft

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