‘This Is Going to Hurt’ is another BBC drama

Tuesday:This Is Going to Hurt; (BBC One, 9pm)


The BBC may have been under fire recently, but as it gets set to celebrate its centenary, the corporation has really been spoiling lovers of great drama.

During the past few months we’ve been treated to The Tourist, The Responder and Four Lives, all modern classics, as well as the return of the ratings-winning Call the Midwife.

And if that’s not enough to impress you, this week we have Chloe and This Is Going to Hurt to look forward to. The latter is based on a bestselling book by Adam Kay; he has adapted it for the small screen himself.

Kay wrote the original by expanding on the diaries he hurriedly wrote while working as a junior doctor in an obstetrics and gynaecology department, a role he eventually gave up to concentrate on writing and comedy full time.

“Junior doctors tend to have a rather quiet voice compared to the politicians, which is understandable – you don’t have much spare time if you’re working 100 hour weeks,” says Kay. “It’s been a huge privilege to have my diaries reach so many readers and it’s been absolutely humbling to see their reaction. I’m beyond delighted to now be able to share my story with a far wider audience and make the viewers of BBC One laugh, cry and vomit.”

Executive producer Naomi de Pear adds: “Hospitals are remarkable places where human beings are seen in all of their glory – where people are their bravest, kindest and sometimes silliest. And the world is envious of our hospitals for a reason, because they represent a system built on the humane belief that people deserve to be treated equally whatever their financial situation, especially in their hour of need. We want this show to be a call to arms.”

The tome won numerous plaudits, while fans and critics applauded its honesty, warmth and wit. Hopefully those attributes transfer to the eight-part TV version. Early indicators suggest they will; the scripts have attracted a top-class cast headed by Ben Whishaw as Adam.

“I am proud to join this exciting adaptation of Adam Kay’s terrific book,” said Whishaw when his casting was announced. “It’s an honest, hilarious, heartbreaking look at the great institution and the army of unsung heroes who work there under the most stressful conditions. The Covid-19 crisis has now shed even more light on their great work and underlines the necessity to support the NHS and its workers.”

The broadcast is certainly timely as we slowly come out of the lockdown, a period in which the NHS has often been at the forefront of the public’s minds.

Harriet Walter and Alex Jennings join Whishaw as Adam’s mother and domineering boss respectively, but it’s newcomer Ambika Mod who may steal the show. She plays Shruti, an earnest young doctor just beginning her career and who realises all too quickly how terrifying being on the frontline can be.

The opening episode sees Shruti and Adam work together for the first time, and it’s clear she’s struggling to find her feet. Adam, meanwhile, tries – and mostly fails – to juggle his professional and personal lives before realising he’s made a terrible mistake…

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