Paula (TV series)

Paula is a three-part British-Irish television drama series, created by screenwriter Conor McPherson, that was first broadcast on RTÉ One on 24 May 2017 in Ireland and BBC Two on 25 May 2017 in the UK. The series focuses on schoolteacher Paula Denny (Denise Gough), who after a chance encounter with handyman James Moorcroft (Tom Hughes), finds her life turned upside down and the safety of everyone she cares about in danger.[1] Filmed in Dublin and Belfast and produced by Cuba Pictures, the series immediately drew comparisons from viewers and critics alike with fellow Northern Irish thriller The Fall.[2] The series was commissioned in September 2016 by former controller of BBC drama, Polly Hill.[3]

DVD cover
GenreCrime, drama, thriller
Created byConor McPherson
Written byConor McPherson
Directed byAlex Holmes
StarringDenise Gough
Tom Hughes
Owen McDonnell
Edward MacLiam
Sean McGinley
Jane Brennan
Siobhán Cullen
Aoibhinn McGinnity
Emily Taaffe
Jonny Holden
ComposerSamuel Sim
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes3 (list of episodes)
Executive producerStephen Wright
ProducerPeter Norris
CinematographyStephan Pehrsson
EditorPhilip Kloss
Running time60 minutes
Production companyCuba Pictures
Original networkRTÉ One (Ireland)
BBC Two (United Kingdom)
Picture format16:9 (1080i)
Audio formatStereo
Original release25 May (2017-05-25) –
8 June 2017 (2017-06-08)

Alongside Gough and Hughes, the series also stars Owen McDonnell as police officer Mac, and Edward MacLiam as Paula's love interest, fellow teacher Philip Byrden. The series was directed by Alex Holmes and produced by Peter Norris, known for his work on former BBC2 stablemate Line of Duty. Gough said of her character: "This woman is acting out in this way that so many of us do and not apologising for it. Also I love the connection to her family. She has a weird lack of intimacy with her family and that informed why she chose unavailable men. What is also interesting is people say ‘she is not very likeable’ and that is such a funny thing we say about women in this position."[4]

The series was released on DVD on 12 June 2017.[5]



Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Episode 1"Conor McPhersonAlex Holmes3.0825 May 2017 (2017-05-25)
Science teacher Paula Denny finds her affair with married colleague Philip Byrden spiralling out of control, and decides to put an end to their relationship. Concurrently, Paula discovers that she has a rat infestation in her basement caused by poor damp proofing fitted by the previous owners. She hires handyman James in to get rid of the rats, but James soon becomes interested in more than just Paula's rat problem. They are attracted to each other and have sex once. When Paula rebuffs the idea of a second romantic tryst, James becomes jealous and begins to act out a callous act of revenge which sets to tear her world apart.
2"Episode 2"Conor McPhersonAlex Holmes2.161 June 2017 (2017-06-01)
Following Philip's death, Paula's suspicions about James continue to grow, and when she discovers that Philip's secret note to her has disappeared, James immediately becomes prime suspect. However, as Paula's own fears begin to take over her mental wellbeing, her brother, Callum, is the victim of a serious arson attack which leaves him fighting for his life. As policeman Mac ups the ante and investigates James' strange living arrangements, he finds a woman bound and gagged in his flat. As Paula and Mac begin to allow the pressure of the case to turn into a fling, James begins to plan out the next stage of his revenge campaign.
3"Episode 3"Conor McPhersonAlex Holmes2.338 June 2017 (2017-06-08)
With James in custody, Paula tries to rebuild her life, but with news of her ordeal having made the national newspapers, she finds that her downward spiral hasn't finished yet. After losing her job, Paula decides to end Callum's life after receiving the devastating news that he may never wake up. Mac is thrown off the case by his superiors, but begins to make private connections to the disappearance of James' sister when she was just five years old. After an initial trial hearing, James is granted bail: and when the news reaches Paula, she turns to drastic measures to trap her torturer in an attempt to finally put an end to her ongoing nightmare.


  1. ^ "Paula – BBC Two". BBC. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. ^ Jefferies, Mark (21 May 2017). "Star of gritty new BBC drama Paula says it will unsettle viewers". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  3. ^ "BBC – Denise Gough and Tom Hughes to star in new BBC Two drama, Paula – Media Centre". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Meet the cast of Paula". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Paula". 12 June 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017 – via Amazon.
  6. ^ "Top 30 Programmes – BARB".

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