Brand new ITV drama Maternal premieres this week and, in addition to being reflective of the NHS is in crisis, it follows three mothers as they return to work in post-pandemic frontline medicine.

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The drama stars Parminder Nagra, Lisa McGrillis and Lara Pulver, as well as another notable familiar face: Pulver's real-life husband, Raza Jeffrey. The former Homeland and Spooks star joins the Maternal cast as Jack Oliviera, a fellow doctor in City General Hospital and one of Catherine's (Pulver) love interests.

In a clip exclusive to RadioTimes.com, viewers can get a sneak peek into the pair's on-screen romance and storyline.

In the teaser, we see Pulver's Catherine and McGrillis's Helen getting lunch in the hospital canteen, talking about their first days back. Helen talks about the "crazy" fact that Louise, the nurse her husband had an affair with, is actually on her very own rotation.

But conversation soon turns to Jack as he saunters up to the lunch line. "Speaking of regretful sexual encounters, here's your ex," Helen whispers. He pushes to the front of the line, ordering a coffee before calling Helen "radiant".

ITV Maternal Lara Pulver
Lara Pulver as Catherine MacDiarmid in Maternal. ITV

"He always smells so lovely, doesn't he Catherine? What is that?" Helen asks.

"I had a bowel perforation at 8 this morning," he says before turning to Catherine. "Have you heard the rumour that Becky's leaving?"

"Consultant Becky?" Catherine asks. "When?"

"Pretty exciting opportunity for us if she goes," Jack states in the light-hearted scene before saying that he's giving Catherine the heads-up because he misses her.

Watch the clip below.

While the comedic clip is only a taste of what's to come in the new ITV drama, the on-screen chemistry between Catherine and Jack is of course, real. The married couple have worked together in the new series and speaking to ITV about working with her husband, Pulver revealed that the experience was "wonderful".

The two met while filming Spooks and were married in 2014. Although having acted on screen together before, Pulver admits: "I did say to him, ‘At what point do you think this is going to be weird?’ It wasn't remotely. I guess that's a testament to him as an actor. He's just brilliant at what he does and it's a pleasure to play opposite any brilliant actor.

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"Also, it served the story because Catherine and Jack needed to have that history, so for us to have that intimacy onscreen wasn't a problem."

While there's this underlying romantic storyline in the series, Maternal has also been described as a "love letter to women on the NHS frontline who are holding it together".

The series is the latest drama to tackle the difficulties and crises within the modern NHS, after last year's BBC drama This is Going to Hurt dramatised Adam Kay's 2017 non-fiction book of the same name.

Maternal airs on ITV1 and ITVX on Monday 16th January at 9pm. Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.

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