Socialist Worker

The Outcast—exposing myths of middle class idylls

by Bethan Turner
Issue No. 2461

George MacKay as Lewis Aldridge

George MacKay as Lewis Aldridge (Pic: BBC )

BBC One’s new drama The Outcast is set in a small village in the 1950s.

It is a place where people spend all their time repressing their emotions so they can maintain a forced politeness. 

The drama is based on Sadie Jones’s best selling novel with the same name. 

In the first 15 minutes you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all quite idyllic. 

But that all changes when ten year old Lewis Aldridge sees his mum drown. 

His emotionally distant father Gilbert, who is incapable of supporting him, sends him to boarding school and gets engaged within months.

Gilbert neglects Lewis’s mental and emotional wellbeing throughout in order to maintain a veneer of respectability.

Lewis is left to try and cope on his own. 

He engages in a pattern of ever more self-destructive behaviour, which increasingly upsets the sensibilites of the villagers. 

The only person who sticks up for Lewis is Kit, Gilbert’s boss’s daughter. 

Her rich father is seen as a pillar of the community, despite the fact that in private he beats up her and her mum.

The start of The Outcast is a bit slow and at points it’s unclear if the plot is going anywhere.

But it does show up the facade of 1950s middle class respectability. 

It’s worth watching—just not if you want a light-hearted way to cheer yourself up.

The Outcast
Written by Sadie Jones
Sundays, 9pm


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Article information

Tue 7 Jul 2015, 18:07 BST
Issue No. 2461
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