This Is Going to Hurt, the hotly anticipated TV series based on the memoir of the same name by former doctor Adam Kay, has finally landed on BBC One.


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 an NHS labour ward.

Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal, Skyfall) stars in the lead role in the TV series as Adam, a junior doctor struggling to balance his immensely stressful professional and personal lives.

Whishaw recently spoke to Radio Times magazine about how the series opened his eyes to the brutal realities faced by health professionals.

“The thing that the show has done for me in terms of opening my eyes is just the sheer levels of exhaustion,” Whishaw said. “It shouldn’t be shocking because it’s so obvious if you think about what these people are actually doing and dealing with every day. But I don’t think we’re encouraged to reflect on that. I think we take it for granted, actually."

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He added: “One of the things that the show is trying to do is draw attention to the emotional and mental cost of working for the NHS and ask the question: what can we do about that? And what is our responsibility to these people and to each other generally?”

Whishaw is joined by an equally impressive cast in This Is Going to Hurt that includes Dame Harriet Walter as Adam's mother, Rory Fleck Byrne as his boyfriend and Alex Jennings as his boss.

Here's what you need to know about the medical memoir...

BBC's This Is Going to Hurt TV release date

This Is Going To Hurt BBC
(BBC/ YouTube)

This is Going to Hurt launched on Tuesday 8th February at 9pm on BBC One.

The episodes last for 45 minutes and will air weekly on BBC One. The series is also available to watch on iPlayer.

The BBC announced the drama in July 2018, but there was a long delay before production began, and filming finally wrapped in June 2021.

This Is Going to Hurt BBC trailer

The BBC has released a trailer giving viewers a first look at Whishaw in character struggling with his workload.

The 30-second promo shows Adam trying to look after multiple pregnant women at a time before he concludes: “Welcome to the NHS.” Watch below:

This Is Going to Hurt cast: Who will star in the TV series?

This is Going to Hurt
Ben Whishaw in BBC's This is Going to Hurt BBC

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

The Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning 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."

He is joined by Dame Harriet Walter, Ambika Mod, Michele Austin, Alex Jennings and Rory Fleck Byrne.

Harriet Walter, who is known for shows including Killing Eve, The Crown and Succession, stars as Adam's mother Veronique. BAFTA-nominated Alex Jennings (of The Crown, A Very English Scandal, Unforgotten and more) plays Mr Lockhart, a consultant at the hospital and Adam’s domineering boss.

Rory Fleck Byrne plays Adam’s boyfriend Harry, while Tom Durant-Pritchard plays Adam’s best friend Greg. For Adam, Greg and Harry are "the ones forced to face the brunt of the pressures he faces at work".

A key character in the story is Shruti, a young junior doctor just starting in obstetrics and gynaecology. We're told: "Naturally bright, diligent and caring, she has everything it takes to be a great doctor, but the job still finds ways to throw her into chaos and doubt." The role is played by newcomer Ambika Mod.

Shruti and Adam in This Is Going To Hurt
Shruti and Adam in This Is Going To Hurt (BBC)

Michele Austin plays Tracy, a confident, sharp-witted senior midwife, while Kadiff Kirwan plays Julian, Adam’s colleague and professional rival. Ashley McGuire stars as Miss Houghton, "a formidable and forthright consultant who spots potential in Shruti".

What is BBC's This is Going to Hurt about?

The 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.

Set on a labour ward, the show was originally announced for eight 45-minute episodes – but it has now been cut down to seven episodes, and shifted from BBC Two to BBC One. It will document the highs, lows and gruelling 97-hour weeks — and the toll being a junior doctor can take back home.

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.”

Adam Kay's This Is Going to Hurt book

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

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.

Read more: This Is Going to Hurt ending explained


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.