Press Releases — BBC Studios - Americas

June 15, 2020

Ben Whishaw Cast as Lead in BBC Two’s Adaptation of This is Going to Hurt with AMC Co-Producing

Lucy Forbes On Board as Lead Director 

Produced by SISTER in Association with Terrible Productions, This is Going to Hurt is Adapted for Screen by Writer, Creator and Executive Producer Adam Kay

London, UK & New York, NY – BBC TWO and AMC have today announced that Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal, Skyfall, London Spy) will star in the new series This is Going to Hurt, produced by global content company SISTER (Giri/Haji, Chernobyl, Gangs of London) in association with Terrible Productions. Based on Adam Kay’s award-winning international multi-million selling memoir of the same name, Whishaw will play the screen version of Adam in the series which has been adapted by creator Kay himself.  AMC is on board as co-producer and director Lucy Forbes (In My Skin, The End of the F***cking World S2) is confirmed as the series lead director. The international distribution will be handled by BBC Studios.

Kay’s diaries, scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, tell the unvarnished truth of life as a doctor working in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Whishaw is set to play the fictional version of Adam, who we find wending his way through the ranks of hospital hierarchy – junior enough to suffer the crippling hours, but senior enough to face a constant barrage of terrifying responsibilities. The series sees Adam clinging to his personal life as he is increasingly overwhelmed by stresses at work: the 97-hour weeks, the life and death decisions, and all the while knowing the hospital parking meter is earning more than him.

This is Going to Hurt is a show about trying to be a good doctor in a system which can sometimes feel like it’s working against you. Like the book, the series will depict life on and off the hospital ward with frank and often shocking honesty. The series rejoices in the highs, while pulling no punches in its depiction of the gut-wrenching lows, and celebrates the everyday superstars of the health service who keep our hospitals running.

Blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking, Kay’s adaptation continues to be a stark reminder of the vital role played by the health service and is a clarion call to continue to support our medics, at a time when that message is more urgent than ever.

Ben Whishaw says: “I am proud to join this exciting adaptation of Adam Kay’s terrific book This is Going to Hurt based on his experiences working in the NHS. 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. I look forward to telling this story with director Lucy Forbes and the great team at SISTER to bring Adam’s words to life and I am really grateful to be a part of it.”

Lucy Forbes added: This hilarious and heart-breaking view of the NHS, that we have so long taken for granted, feels more relevant than ever – and what better person to play Adam than the wonderful Whishaw! So looking forward to working with Ben, and the SISTER team to bring Adam Kay’s painfully funny book to life.”

Creator and Writer Adam Kay (Terrible Productions) said: “Ben is quite simply one of the finest actors our country has ever produced and a bona fide national treasure. There’s simply no one who could do a better job of playing (a much more handsome version of) me. Best still, I now have an answer to the standard dinner party question: “Who would play you in the story of your life?”

Naomi de Pear, Executive Producer, SISTER said: “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the magical combination of the huge talents that are Ben Whishaw  and Lucy Forbes. Who better to bring to life the tragedy, comedy and complexity of both Dr Adam Kay and the beautiful beast that is our NHS.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama said: “Not just anyone could evoke the waspish wit, the pathos or the brilliant bloody-mindedness of TIGTH’s Adam. But thankfully we didn’t just need anyone – we just needed Ben and it’s a testament to the quality of Adam’s scripts and the expertise of the team at SISTER that Ben has agreed to come on board.”

Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC and co-president of AMC Studios, commented: “As we continue to search for unique voices and uncover authentic and rarely seen worlds, we’re proud to once again partner with the remarkable creative team at SISTER on this timely series focusing a lens on the societal and cultural issues surrounding the healthcare system. Adam has provided insightful source material with This is Going to Hurt, laying a foundation for a topical, darkly comedic and breathtakingly poignant series, and we’re thrilled to welcome established talent both in front of and behind the camera with Ben Whishaw and Lucy Forbes on board.”

Created, Written and Executive Produced by Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt is Commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, is Executive Produced by Naomi de Pear (Don’t Forget The Driver, Flowers, The Bisexual) Jane Featherstone (Chernobyl, Giri/Haji/ The Split) for SISTER, James Farrell (Untitled Game of Thrones Prequel) for Terrible Productions, Mona Qureshi for BBC Two, as well as Kristin Jones and Dan McDermott for AMC, and is produced by Holly Pullinger (Don’t Forget The Driver) with Lucy Forbes (In My Skin, The End of the F***cking World S2) directing the first four episodes. Dan Isaacs (COO, SISTER) and Phil Sequeira (VP Scripted Co-productions, BBC Studios) brokered the deal with AMC for the U.S. & Canada and will distribute internationally. 

About AMC
AMC is home to some of the most popular and acclaimed programs on television. AMC was the first basic cable network to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series with Mad Men in 2008, which then went on to win the coveted award four years in a row, before Breaking Bad won it in 2013 and 2014. The network’s series The Walking Dead is the highest-rated series in cable history. AMC’s current original drama series are Better Call SaulDispatches from Elsewhere, Fear the Walking Dead, NOS4A2, QuizSoulmatesThe Terror, The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond and the recently greenlit 61st StreetKevin Can F Himself, Pantheon and National Anthem. AMC also explores authentic worlds and discussion with original shows like Talking DeadAMC Visionaries and Ride with Norman Reedus. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, SundanceTV, BBC America and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.

About BBC Studios
BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group.  Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries from both its own productions and programmes and formats made by high-quality UK independents. Award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, including factual, drama, entertainment and comedy. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including six production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes around 2,500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector. Created in April 2018 by the merger of two existing commercial subsidiaries, BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, the company has revenue of around £1.4bn.  In the year to March 2019, it returned £243m to the BBC Group, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.

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