EXCLUSIVE: BBC Two has ordered an adaptation of This is Going to Hurt, a funny medical memoir from former junior doctor Adam Kay.
The eight-part comedy drama, which tells of life on the hospital ward, is produced by Jane Featherstone’s Sister Pictures and comes after the indie production company optioned the novel at the end of last year.
Set on labour ward, it documents the heart-lifting highs and gut-wrenching lows, offering a brutally honest depiction of life as a junior doctor and the toll the job can take back home. Kay scribbled his diaries in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, and tells of the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, the constant tsunami of bodily fluids and the fact the hospital parking meter earns more than doctors.
The book, which was published in September, is a Sunday Times number one bestseller and has subsequently been translated in 20 languages. Kay is adapting the book into an eight-part series, consisting of 45-minute episodes, himself, for BBC Two. He will exec produce through his own Terrible Productions, alongside Sister Pictures’ Naomi De Pear and Mona Qureshi. It was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two.
Kay said, “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. 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 Two laugh, cry and vomit.”
Wenger said, “The anarchic, laugh out loud tone of Adam’s memoir masks a frank, insightful and often visceral portrait of a committed young professional struggling to do the job of his dreams. It is a deeply personal but definitive account of the 21st Century NHS and we are thrilled that Adam and the team at Hootenanny and Sister have chosen BBC Two as the place to bring it to screen.”
“Adam is an extraordinary talent with a unique story to tell. His memoir This is Going to Hurt leaps off the page with its candour, coruscating wit, intelligence and timeliness. This new series promises scintillating writing about a subject that is at the centre of national life. I am so delighted Adam and Sister Pictures have brought this to BBC Two,” added Holland.
“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,” said de Pear.