A “creepy” new TV drama about an architect who fears she is being subtly sabotaged by a woman covering her maternity leave has split the opinion of viewers for its take on office politics.
The BBC’s three-part thriller The Replacement stars Grantchester’s Morven Christie and Line Of Duty’s Vicky McClure.
The series follows the paranoid struggle of Ellen (Morven) as an expectant mother who becomes transfixed by what she thinks are subtle manipulations of her maternity cover Paula (Vicky).
Raring to go after taking years out to care for her own child, Paula’s enthusiasm wears thin on Ellen, who is adamant she does not want to spend much time away from her job.
Against Ellen’s protests, Paula starts shadowing her at work and becomes increasingly involved with her client and their bosses behind Ellen’s back.
As Ellen’s paranoia and “significant emotional distress” grows, she is told by those around her – including her colleagues and psychiatrist partner Ian – that her feelings may be down to the pregnancy.
Viewers took to Twitter to comment on the overall creepiness and the workplace pregnancy storyline.
#TheReplacement - Hitchcock, Doctor Foster vibes. Creepy as well as a good take on paranoia, work politics and dynamics as women.— Ebunola Adenipekun (@ebunola1) February 28, 2017
#TheReplacement - unless you've been pregnant & had to train a temp replacement you will never understand the fear— Natalie Dawn 🧚🏻♀️ (@nataliedawn_xox) February 28, 2017
“#TheReplacement – another brilliant drama from the BBC. Remind me never to get pregnant!” another added.
But for some, the story of a jealous pregnant woman was not enjoyable and too stereotypical.
Dreadful story line! Pretending pregnant womon are crazy and a risk. Utter BS and depressing! #TheReplacement— walksfar (@ybawife) February 28, 2017
One viewer said The Replacement was “offending anyone who has ever been pregnant”.
The show’s writer and director Joe Ahearne previously said he likes stories about “paranoia where our main character is the only one who can see what’s going on while everyone around them thinks they’re going crazy”.
He said: “The fact it’s a pregnant woman going through this intensifies the dilemma. Women get attacked from every side when they make decisions about how to manage the change in their life.
“Whatever decision they make is challenged and dissected. It’s the perfect landscape for paranoia and suspense.”