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Are you watching? The Handmaid's Tale

Elisabeth Moss stars as Offred, a reproductive surrogate or 'handmaid', in The Handmaid's Tale

THIRTY-two years after Margaret Attwood's beloved dystopian novel was published – and 27 years since the Harold Pinter-scripted movie version failed to set box offices alight – comes this excellent TV adaptation which perfectly captures the Canadian author's horrific vision of a USA lost to population crisis-propagated theocraticism.

Featuring a superb turn by the always reliable Elisabeth Moss (Top of The Lake, Mad Men) in the lead role as protagonist/narrator Offred, the series is set in a patriarchal and puritanical police state, Gilead, where all fertile women are enslaved as baby-making machines for the barren ruling class.

This dehumanising elite have also declared war on 'non-conformists' – homosexuals, non-partisan doctors, defiant clergymen – who are rounded-up by surveillance savvy shock troops known as 'The Eye' for public execution.

"This all must seem so strange to you now – but, after a time, it will become ordinary." These are the chilling words of advice offered to Offred and her fellow handmaids by sinister matron Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd going 'full Trunchbull') during their training/indoctrination.

Viewers are privy to Offred's inner thoughts (via voice-over) and memories (via flashback) of her increasingly distant past as a free, happily married mother prior to subjugation by these puritanical fascists.

Can she escape her procreation-obsessed masters in Gilead, find her daughter and escape across the border to Canada? We'll find out over the course of nine more episodes and a confirmed second series.

:: On Sundays, Channel 4, 9pm. Catch up via Channel4.com/catchup

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