Series 1 - Episode 4



I arrive late to Nurse, Radio 4’s series of short snappy comedies. It’s in six parts and by the time I’d caught up with the good reviews, it was already halfway through.

Written by Paul Whitehouse and David Cummings, it features a community mental health nurse (Esther Coles, who contributes additional material). She sounds as patient, good-humoured and capable as you’d want a community mental health nurse to be. She visits a host of people in their own homes, almost all of them Paul Whitehouse.

In episode four (my episode one) there’s a chat about the value of gardening, with Billy “finding God at the end of a spade”. Ray has some brilliantly funny lines (I cannot repeat here the one involving the Isle of Man), but his bravado can’t mask the hints at his troubled life. Herbert believes in the art of letter-writing. He’s written to Kingsley Amis and won’t countenance the suggestion that he’s dead: “No… he’s just having a break.”

Tommy challenges Nurse: “You think I’m away with the fairies.” And Lorrie, one of the few characters not played by Whitehouse, explains why she won’t take her medication, even though her daughter has been taken away from her: “When I take my pills, me no hear Jesus.”

Luckily the Radioplayer is our friend. Catch up with Nurse while you can.


Comedy drama, written by Paul Whitehouse and David Cummings, following a community psychiatric nurse into the homes of her patients, recounting their humorous, sad and often bewildering daily interactions with their visitor, whose job is to assess their progress, dispense medication and offer comfort and support. Starring Paul Whitehouse, Esther Coles and Simon Day. First aired in 2014.

Cast & Crew

Billy/Ray/Herbert/Tommy/Maurice Paul Whitehouse
Nurse Esther Coles
Tony Simon Day
Lorrie Cecilia Noble
Producer Paul Whitehouse
Producer Tilusha Ghelani
Writer Paul Whitehouse
Writer David Cummings
see more