This is Going to Hurt: When is the TV adaptation on BBC and who does Ben Whishaw play?

Credit: Canva/BBC/Sister (Photographer: Screen Grab)

Fans of the best-selling memoir This is Going to Hurt will be thrilled to learn that the TV adaptation will be coming to the BBC soon.

Expect blood, trauma and tears (both good and bad) during your viewing of This is Going to Hurt – the new medical drama that goes behind-the-scenes of a fictional NHS ward with junior doctor Adam Kay. The show is based on the diary entries of real life Adam – ex-doctor and author of the book of the same name – whose bleak and bonkers tales from life on the frontline has earnt a huge fan following. And he’s helped turned his book into a small screen series, with a little help from acclaimed actor Ben Whishaw.

It joins a line-up of great British drama dominating our screens this winter – including Vicky McClure’s new show Trigger Point and BBC thriller Rules of the Game.

When is This is Going to Hurt on BBC?

This is Going to Hurt will be on BBC iPlayer from 8 February. The BBC have confirmed that all episodes will be available to watch on the streaming service from this date. Though no live TV premiere date has been shared as yet.

Episodes will run for approximately 45 minutes, with 7 in total. And the BBC dropped the official trailer for This is Going to Hurt in late January, teasing viewers with what is to come.

The official synopsis of the show reads: “At times hilarious, at times devastating, This is Going to Hurt is a series following Adam, a doctor who we find wending his way through the ranks of hospital hierarchy. Junior enough to suffer the crippling hours, but senior enough to face a constant barrage of terrifying responsibilities.

“Adam is clinging to his personal life as he is increasingly overwhelmed by stresses at work: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, and all the while knowing the hospital parking meter is earning more than him.”

American audiences will be able to watch the show on AMC+ across the pond.

Who does Ben Whishaw play in This is Going to Hurt?

British BAFTA award-winning actor Ben Whishaw plays Adam, the lead role in the new BBC adaptation. His character is an overworked junior NHS doctor who is loosely based on the real-life Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt.

Audiences will recognise Ben for his roles in previous BBC dramas like A Very English Scandal, Criminal Justice and The Hours. He’s also famous for playing Q in the James Bond films Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die. And is the voice of Paddington the Bear in both films Paddington and Paddington 2.

Ben said that he was “proud” to be a part of the adaptation, adding that the show highlights the heroic work of NHS workers:

“It’s an honest, hilarious, heart-breaking 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.”

Ben Whishaw and Ambika Mod in a still from This is Going to Hurt (Credit: BBC/Sister – Photographer: Screen Grab)

Supporting cast:

Ambika Mod (newcomer and comedian) plays young junior doctor Shruti
Alex Jennings (The Queen, The Crown, Lady in the Van) plays Adam’s boss, consultant Mr. Lockhart
Harriet Walter (Killing Eve, Law & Order: UK) plays Adam’s mum Veronique
Rory Fleck Byrne (Harlots, The Foreigner) plays Adam’s boyfriend Harry
Tom Durant-Pritchard (The Crown, Judy) plays Adam’s best friend Greg
Michele Austin (The Bill) plays midwife Tracy
Kadiff Kirwan (This Way Up, Fleabag, The Stranger) plays Adam’s colleague Julian
Ashley McGuire (This Country, It’s a Sin) plays hospital consultant Miss Houghton

Where is This is Going to Hurt filmed?

This is Going to Hurt was filmed in London, England. It is thought that the majority of hospital scenes were shot on a custom-built set. Though a handful of scenes were also filmed in Camden, London.

A production crew for the BBC series were spotted working on Bloomsbury Street, Camden in February 2021. With cameras additionally spotted on nearby Marchmont Street.

Filming for This is Going to Hurt officially wrapped in June 2021. A year after the announcement that actor Ben Whishaw was cast in the title role.

When was This is Going to Hurt published?

The book This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor was first published in 2017. And Adam Kay’s memoir proved to be a huge success from the start – staying at the top of the Sunday Times bestseller chart for a year and selling over 2.5 million copies.

The doctor-turned-author also picked up four gongs at the National Book Awards of the same year. This included Book of the Year, Non-Fiction Book of the Year, New Writer of the Year and Zoe Ball’s Book Club Book of the Year.

This is Going to Hurt (paperback) by Adam Kay – £7.19 | Amazon
The new paperback edition of Kay’s memoir includes new diary entries and an afterward by the author. It’s described as “hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.”

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Following his debut success, Kay has gone on to write a further three books. The second entitled Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, a follow-up to his first – containing festive diary entries of his time on duty. Whilst Kay’s Anatomy, his first children’s book was published in October 2020.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Kay penned a compilation book titled Dear NHS, featuring stories from celebrities like Ed Sheeran, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson on their experience and pride for the UK’s health service. A donation was made for every book sold to NHS Charities Together, raising over £250,000 in total.

Why did Adam Kay quit being a doctor?

The book’s author Adam Kay worked as a doctor in the NHS for 7 years. But he quit in 2010 when a caesarean went wrong and Adam found himself both traumatised and unable to continue writing his funny diary entries.

The 41-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph that the operation went wrong as the patient had an undiagnosed placenta praevia. As a result the mother lost the baby, 12 litres of blood and had to have an emergency hysterectomy.

“I’d had many difficult days at work prior to that and my coping mechanisms were enough to deal with those,” he said. “But there was a maximum I could deal with and it was that day. If that day hadn’t happened, I would have continued as a doctor. But the truth is, that day would have happened at some point.”

Credit: Getty

He admits that he should have sought out counselling after the event and cried for an hour afterwards. At the time of the caesarian, Adam was the most senior medical professional on the ward.

“I don’t know whether I technically had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) but I never saw a psychiatrist,” he added. “I used to wake up regularly in the middle of the night and my pulse would be racing and I’d be in a cold sweat and back in that operating theatre. That no longer happens because I’m talking about it and doing my own therapy by being open about it.”

What does Adam Kay do now?

Former doctor Adam is now an author, comedy writer and screenwriter. His television credits include comedies Crims, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Mitchell and Webb.

Adam has also written and executively produced the TV adaptation of This is Going to Hurt. He was also heavily involved in the show’s creative process.

In an interview with the Guardian, Adam opened up on how he tried to separate himself from Adam the character:

“It was always ‘him’ rather than ‘me’ when I was talking to producers to give myself the necessary distance, and also so I didnit implode during the many discussions of how dislikable he is – I am – throughout,” he said. “The truth is that he started as me in every way, and as the writing continued he became his own person, albeit one who constantly says and does things that I did in my actual life.”

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