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When is This Is Going To Hurt on TV? What’s it about and who is in the cast?

Paddington and James Bond actor Ben Whishaw will play a junior doctor on a NHS labour ward.

Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw will lead the cast in the long-anticipated BBC adaptation of This Is Going To Hurt, the bestselling memoir of a former junior doctor.


The eight-part BBC Two drama is based on the real-life experiences of Adam Kay, whose time on the NHS frontline are recounted in his book of the same name. First commissioned back in July 2018, the series will likely have fresh resonance with viewers following the global coronavirus pandemic, which has shed light on the sacrifices made by medical staff.

Chockfull of laughs, tears and, of course, a “constant tsunami of bodily fluids”, the book was first published in 2017, and drew on Kay’s personal diaries from his time working on a NHS labour ward.

Set on a labour ward, the eight 45-minute episodes (adapted by Adam Kay himself) will document the highs, lows and gruelling 97-hour weeks — and the toll being a junior doctor can take back home.

This is Going to Hurt author Adam Kay
This is Going to Hurt author Adam Kay (Idil Sukan)

Creator and writer Adam 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.”

Executive Producer, Naomi de Pear, said at the time of commissioning that she hoped the show’s portrayal of the stark reality of life on the NHS frontline will be a “a call to arms”.

“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.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, 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.”

Read on for everything you need to know about This Is Going To Hurt, starring James Bond actor Ben Whishaw as Adam Kay.

When is This Is Going To Hurt on TV?

The BBC announced the drama in July 2018, but it’s yet to be announced when the eight-part series will air on BBC Two.

This Is Going To Hurt cast: Who will star?

Ben Whishaw, well-known for his starring roles in films and TV shows including the James Bond movies, A Very English Scandal, London Spy, Paddington, will play the on-screen version of Adam.

Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal (BBC, EH)
Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal (BBC)

The actor said in a statement that he was “proud to join this exciting adaptation,” adding: “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.”

This Is Going to Hurt book

Kay’s book This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor was originally published in 2017.

It was nominated for a number of awards and won a strong critical reception, with The Daily Express calling it “hilarious, horrifying, and a heartbreaking insight into the life of a junior doctor”.

You can buy the book from Amazon now.


An air date for This is Going to Hurt has yet to be announced. While you’re waiting visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.