BBC Two is turning back the clock for its latest comedy order with 1840s-set medical series, Quacks. NBCUniversal International Studios’ Lucky Giant (BBC Two/HBO’s Family Tree) will produce six half-hours about four young pioneers in the daring and wild days of Victorian medicine with shooting to start later this year. Created and written by James Wood, best known for co-creating the network’s BAFTA-winning Rev, it will star Mathew Baynton (The Wrong Mans), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Tom Basden (Plebs) and Lydia Leonard (Life In Squares). Rupert Everett is due to make guest appearances.
The story takes place at a time when medical science as we know it was still in its infancy; when doctors were just as likely to kill their patients as cure them; and when they experimented on themselves and each other. The show explores an era of surgery when the O.R. — or operating theater in British parlance — was full of spectacle and showmanship (and screw-ups).
Kinnear will play one of those showmen, an arrogant surgeon; Baynton is in as a fledgling psychiatrist; Basden as a hedonistic dentist turned anesthetist; and Leonard as a headstrong social campaigner.
BBC Two’s Shane Allen says the setting “lends itself well to raucous high adventure and inappropriate behavior all in the name of progress.”
Lucky Giant’s Justin Davies, who is exec producing with Wood, adds that the characters are “the would-be rock stars of the medical world and while their intentions are sincere, the results are often brilliantly deranged and funny.”
The series is being made in association with charitable health foundation, The Wellcome Trust.