Gemma Whelan as 'Chastity Butterworth' in "The Chastity Butterworth Show"A while back I wrote about the dissonance and disbelief that resulted from seeing Gemma Whelan playing vastly different characters in concurrent episodes of Game of Thrones and Upstart Crow… and I felt a similar effect this week, when I listened to the pilot episode of Whelan’s cheeky comedy chat-off The Chastity Butterworth Show, just a couple days before seeing her in gritty true-life crime drama The Moorside. In the former she plays a saucy socialite, hosting three celebrity guests at her cosy country house, while in the latter she plays the increasingly-suspect mother of a missing child, living on a poor-but-proud housing estate… and, like the supremely versatile and talented actress she is, Whelan managed to shapeshift seamlessly into each role, while investing them both with a little of her own natural charm and humour.

As for the show themselves… Chastity (which Whelan also wrote) was a lot of frothy fun, and it was particularly pleasing to hear her interview fellow-Throner Charles Dance, and allude to her own part in the HBO hit without ever actually breaking character. Overall, it was a very pleasant and amusing way to spend half-an-hour, and I’d love to hear/see more… assuming busy-bee Whelan has the time to make any more episodes, in between all her other projects, that is!

Gemma Whelan as 'Karen Matthews' in "The Moorside"Meanwhile, only the first half of Moorside has aired so far, but it seems to be a solid and suspenseful drama, with the occasional chuckle thrown in to keep the gears greased. Personally, I have strong reservations about “dramatising” the lives of real people… especially when those people are still walking around in the world, with the same names as their on-screen simulacra… so I have a great deal of sympathy for everyone depicted/mentioned in this programme, regardless of how positively or negatively they’re portrayed. Still, I can’t deny that it’s compelling viewing, and provides a great showcase for Whelan, who was straight-up chilling here as the story unfolded, and the shocking truth began to seep out…

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
This entry was posted in Rants about Radio, Rants about TV and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.