New ITV thriller series Malpractice kicked off on Sunday night (23rd April), plunging viewers into the heart of an NHS A&E department.


Niamh Algar leads the cast of the drama as Lucinda Edwards, a hard working doctor whose life is upended when she's caught up in a dangerous conspiracy after a patient dies.

When the pressure of an inquiry begins to threaten her marriage and career, Lucinda is soon pushed to breaking point. But is she hiding something?

With Malpractice providing an authentic look at the environment within an A&E department, naturally viewers have been left wondering whether the series is based on a true story or inspired by real-world events in any way.

Read on for everything you need to know about the real-life inspiration behind ITV medical thriller Malpractice.

More like this

Is Malpractice based on a true story?

Niamh Algar as Dr Lucinda Edwards in Malpractice
Niamh Algar as Dr Lucinda Edwards in Malpractice World Productions for ITV

Malpractice is not based on a specific true story, with all the events and characters having been fictionalised. However, the series has been inspired by the real-life experiences of former doctor Grace Ofori-Attah, who moved into screenwriting following a 15-year medical career.

Ofori-Attah explained: "Having been a doctor for 15 years I’ve always been interested in storytelling and medicine is a career that’s full of stories. The first time you meet a patient, whether it’s in A&E or on a psychiatric ward, you are getting their history, their story.

"And you are trying to figure out what are the key details. What are the most important reasons why they are here today and how is that relevant to the treatment and the outcome? As I progressed through my career and was doing psychiatry, that story and its relevance became all the more important.

"While Malpractice is set in A&E to reflect what was probably the most difficult junior doctor rotation I’ve ever done, the underlying story is really one about psychiatry, mental health, addiction and how that is pervasive. Not just in medicine but in wider society."

What has the writer said about Malpractice on ITV?

Jordan Kouamé as Dr George Brewin and Helen Behan as Dr Norma Callahan in Malpractice
Jordan Kouamé as Dr George Brewin and Helen Behan as Dr Norma Callahan in Malpractice. World Productions for ITV

Ofori-Attah revealed that, in creating Malpractice, she wanted to "do a piece about the different pressures doctors are under and what it really looks like", with the idea first coming to her in 2019.

She explained that "for a few years I had been quite alarmed at the number of doctors committing suicide while under investigation by the General Medical Council", with the inquiry into Lucinda's behaviour on the night of a patient's death proving to be the centre of the series' story.

Ofori-Attah said of her own experiences witnessing these inquiries: "The process just wasn’t considerate to the doctors involved. As a doctor you are constantly worrying about doing something wrong because it’s almost like there’s a presumption of guilt rather than innocent until proven guilty.

"I remember quite early on in my core training, a nurse and a doctor disappearing from our ward overnight because a patient had made an allegation against them. It was like, 'We have to believe the patient immediately and they have to be suspended until it’s investigated.'

"They hadn’t done anything wrong but they still had to go through this awful process, which everyone knew about because they were no longer on the ward. The processes are so punitive. I never really see anything on TV about that investigation process - or about coroner’s inquests, which are a huge part of my medical life.

"So there are scenes of a coroner’s inquest in Malpractice. To show that while doctors may not be on trial there, it feels very much like you are. We filmed those inquest scenes at the very beginning of the shoot and I was there for around half of the filming. It gave me shudders. Even watching it on screen I feel really stressed."

So it seems that while Lucinda's exact situation and the events of the series are not based on a specific story or individual, the roots of the series have very much been born out of real-life situations and Ofori-Attah's own experiences.

Malpractice continues on ITV1 on Sunday 30th April at 9pm, with all episodes available on ITVX.

If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide. Visit our Drama hub for all the latest news.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.