Human Science



[BBC series with Michael Kitchen as Richard, a surgeon who has an affair with a medical manager. His beautiful 40+ wife Anna, an HR consultant, finds out and has an affair with Owen, a subordinate surgeon in the same hospital who is 15 years younger and comes from a working class background. Anna divorces Richard and eventually marries Owen.]

  1. Richard is aggressively self-centered in his pursuit of career. Anna for him is a sign of his high accomplishment. She is beautiful, smart and a successful businesswoman. He is seduced by his manager and enjoys an elicit affair for 6 months.
  2. Owen has moved from London to Manchester to be close to his ailing father, who drinks too much. He sees Anna on a train and borrows her mobile to call his father. Later they meet in a café by accident. It terms out Anna has been engaged to recruit for Richard’s hospital and has decided to turn down Owen’s application. When she accidently leaves her briefcase in the café, he opens it and discovers the truth.
  3. Owen is powerfully attracted to Anna for her beauty and upper class standing which contrasts with his obvious working class origins. She is pleased but rebuffs him. He discovers Richard’s affair and arranges that Anna find out too. When she does, she rushes into an affair with Owen and rejects Richard, announcing she will divorce him.
  4. When Richard finds out that Anna is having an affair with Owen and assaults him on two occasions.
  5. Anna is advised by her sister that marriage to a much younger man is bound to fail.
  6. Owen’s father supports his choice and he befriends Anna.
  7. Richard’s parents sympathize with Anna against their own son and encourage her remarriage.
  8. Richard discovers his manager is pregnant and when she decides to have a baby, he actively embraces it as a fulfillment of his urge which Anna was unwilling to fulfill.
  9. Richard pursues Anna with a vengeance to persuade her that marriage to Owen will not work and pleading for her to return. The day before her wedding, she relents in listening to Richard over the door intercom. When she asks him up, he walks away and says he is finished. His goal all along was not winning back Anna, but preventing Owen from marrying her which is a source of social humiliation for him. His pride prevents him from taking her back. He is more angry at Owen for humiliating him than he is sorry for losing Anna. It is the public exposure of his failed marriage that is most galling.
  10. What motivates everyone? Ego – all the way.
  • Richard is driven to aggrandize his masculine ego through career accomplishment, his wife and an affair, not love.
  • Anna feels unfulfilled as a woman in marriage but suppresses it, seeking career success and denying Richard the child he wants.She is attracted to Owen on the rebound when she discovers her 25 years of self-sacrifice, waiting for Richard to become an affectionate husband, have been in vain. It is not love of Owen, but certainly flattery at being attractive to a handsome and much younger man. She enjoys feeling young and being regarded as young and beautiful. She observes that Richard and Owen are of the same type, both aggressively pursuing what they want – surgeon’s personality. Anna wavers back and forth and finally chooses Owen only after Richard walks away.
  • Owen is subconsciously attracted to Anna because of her upper class status and manners. It is the one thing no other woman can give him. He wants to marry her for that social advancement.

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