Douglas is Cancelled episode 2 recap: is Madeline on Douglas' side?

Karen Gillan in a green dress holding her hand over her mic as Madeline in Douglas is Cancelled
Douglas is Cancelled episode 2: has Madeline (Karen Gillan) really got Douglas' back? (Image credit: ITV)

The opening episode of Douglas is Cancelled saw TV presenter Douglas Bellowes (Hugh Bonneville) accused of making a sexist joke at a wedding and a fellow guest took to social media to complain about him.

Those around him started to panic about the ensuing storm, which could potentially end his career, and his Live at Six co-star Madeline Crow (Karen Gillan) has now made things worse by retweeting the post to all her followers and ambiguously stating, "Don’t believe it. Not my co-presenter". 

Now, in episode 2, as an angry Douglas confronts Madeline, can she talk him around? Here’s what happened in episode 2 of Douglas is Cancelled…

Alex Kingston in a beige coat on the phone as Sheila in Douglas is Cancelled

Sheila (Alex Kingston) is worried that Madeline will be able to manipulate Douglas. (Image credit: ITV)

As the episode begins, the action flashes back one year to a holiday that Douglas, his tabloid editor wife Sheila (Alex Kingston) and their daughter Claudia (Madeleine Power) are having in Dubai, but they are stuck in their hotel room as it is pouring with rain. Sheila is on the phone to a colleague and rants that she doesn’t want to tell a religious broadcaster who has been cheating on his wife that her paper is about to ruin his life because she is on holiday and he is a friend.

But she is distracted and rather suspicious when she notices that Madeline has been texting Douglas, who tries to calm her down by saying that Madeline is his friend and she just likes texting and that nothing is going on as he’s almost twice her age. But is Sheila convinced?

Back in the present day, Sheila calls Live at Six producer Toby (Ben Miles) to warn him that Douglas is going to confront Madeline over her post, which is now all over social media. Sheila asks if they will pull Douglas from the show and Toby said they are not going to react to it and Douglas will have an earpiece so their comedy writer can help him handle any awkward moments and give him "zingers", but Sheila is highly dubious. She also reminds Toby that Douglas is due to be interviewed at the Hay Festival the following week. Toby then tries to get their comedy writer Morgan (Nick Mohammed) to provide him with some gags for Douglas, so that he will sound relaxed and witty, but Morgan’s "jokes" give Toby further cause for concern.

Hugh Bonneville in a dark jumper as Douglas in Douglas is Cancelled

Douglas (Hugh Bonneville) faces a confrontation and some tough decisions. (Image credit: ITV)

Meanwhile, in Madeline’s office, she asks if Douglas is OK as she hates it when he is cross, but he feels very awkward when she holds his hand. She laughs uproariously, however, at the idea that anyone might think they are having an affair and chuckles that one of them is hot and one of them is clever and both of those are her! Toby then bursts in but they quickly chuck him out and Sheila calls him again to demand that he gets Douglas out of there.

As Madeline continues to try to appease Douglas, he says he realises she was defending him, but it was potentially damaging. But Madeline shockingly declares that it was deliberately damaging as it was a challenge. She was expressing confidence that Douglas would never say anything sexist because otherwise she could never tolerate him as her co-presenter, so if anyone heard him say anything sexist at the wedding, they would head onto Twitter to prove her wrong. They would then be able to know what the joke was and could get a head start in trying to defend him, because Douglas can’t remember what he said. Douglas’ useless agent Bently (Simon Russell Beale) then comes in and tells them not to worry as he is trying to control the spread, although it’s clear that he has no idea how to help!

Ben Miles in a brown jacket on the phone as Toby in Douglas is Cancelled

Toby (Ben Miles) has concerns about what Douglas should do next. (Image credit: ITV)

Meanwhile, Sheila remains furious because she feels Madeline is always able to wrap Douglas around her little finger and control him. And it certainly appears that way as Madeline now seems upset that Douglas thinks she was trying to stitch him up. She says she was just trying to help both him and the show, which he has put in jeopardy because he got drunk at a wedding. She then reminds him about the Hay interview and says that his interviewer will have seen the story and will probably be talking to the guest who overheard the joke. She says they need to prepare him for hostile questioning. But, still offended that he thinks she was out to get him, she insists that he is her best friend and she will always have his back, so she needs him to show his public support for her now by retweeting her retweet…

Outside, Bently and Toby are discussing Hay, and Bently thinks that the interviewer has been swapped and is now a woman and a ‘Newsnight one’, which strikes terror into them both. As they go to tell Douglas, they find out that he has retweeted Madeline...

An irate Sheila chips in again to say that Douglas can’t cancel Hay because it will then look like he didn’t want to be interviewed by a woman because he is sexist! She says he needs a rehearsal with someone who can give him a hard time and look for any possible pitfalls, but it can’t be Madeline as she can’t be trusted. Toby and Madeline also think he should have a practice and after initially saying she can’t do the rehearsal, Madeline eventually says she will and she makes it look like it was Douglas’ idea! But Sheila says she will do it because they have been married 20 years, she has destroyed loads of careers in the past and can get under his skin. Will Douglas choose to be interrogated by his wife or his co-star?

Karen Gillan in a green dress as Madeline sits opposite Hugh Bonneville in a dark jumper as Douglas in Douglas is Cancelled

Madeline (Karen Gillan) gets ready to grill Douglas (Hugh Bonneville) in Douglas is Cancelled. (Image credit: ITV)

Events then move into a studio for the rehearsal, which is going to be treated like a real interview and recorded. A nervous Toby asks if Douglas is sure he wants to go ahead and he is. Sheila walks in but she is just there to watch from a viewing room, while Madeline does the interview. Douglas tries to lighten the mood as everyone moves out the room, apart from him and Madeline, and he says it’s all a fuss over a stupid joke. But a stony-faced Madeline says it was not a joke, and, as she puts her hand over her mic to muffle it, she says that it was a story and everyone laughed and the story was about her… And a frantic Douglas shouts, "Stop!"

All episodes of Douglas Is Cancelled are available on ITVX

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.