Trauma – BritBox’s very first program presentation at the streaming services’s very first TCA appearance – centers around the lives of two fathers whose lives collide when one of their sons is stabbed. It’s written so viewers sympathies are swung back and forth between the two men, cast and creators explained. And class plays a big role in the three-part limited series.
Dan Bowker, played by John Simms (Life on Mars, Doctor Who) and Jon Allerton, played by Adrian Lester (Hustle, Girlfriends) collide when Dan’s 15-year-old son is stabbed and dies in the trauma unit attended by Jon in a Central London hospital. Believing Jon is responsible for his son’s death, Dan’s quest for truth and justice unravels both their lives.
Creator Mike Bartlett told TV critics his goal was to keep viewers uncertain as to where their sympathies lie.
“I have been in hospital with loved ones and feeling like being part of a system of which you have no control,” he said of the project’s genesis. “We’re so used to choosing, and suddenly you’re put in this situation where you have no control.”
Class plays a leading role. “Particularly money comes up thematically through the piece,” Bartlett said. “Dan is a father who is doing pretty well, he’s ‘just about managing’ as the expression goes, until this happens…He believes if he had more money, his son might still be alive.” Meanwhile, the surgeon drives a nice car, sends his daughter to private school, etc.
This storyline “goes further than a medical drama; it’s a tale about inequality,” Bartlett said.