Why everyone’s talking about the BBC’s This Is Going To Hurt

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Kayleigh Dray
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The upcoming TV adaptation is based on Adam Kay’s book of the same name – and people are very excited.

It’s the book everyone’s been talking about on social media – and now the BBC have announced that they’re bringing Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt to our screens in a major new eight-part comedy-drama.

For those who have yet to read the book (and, if that’s you, then please rectify this issue immediately), This Is Going To Hurt is a blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking wake-up call to anyone who values the NHS, and a frank and moving love letter to the 1.4 million people working on the front line every day.

Kay – once a junior doctor, now a best-selling author – scribbled his tome in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends on a labour ward. And it has proven to be a hit with readers everywhere: it is the current Sunday Times number one bestseller (a position it has held for over two months now), and, since publication in September, it has been translated into twenty languages and won numerous awards.

No wonder, then, it is being given the small-screen treatment by the Beeb. Just like the original book, the BBC Two adaptation promises to deliver a brutally honest depiction of life as a junior doctor on the wards, and the toll the job can take back home. Expect 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, a number of embarrassing patient issues, and a hospital parking meter that earns more than most NHS staff.

“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,” says Kay.

“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.” 

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: “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.

“It is a deeply personal but definitive account of the 21st Century NHS and we are thrilled that Adam and the team at Hootenanny and Sister have chosen BBC Two as the place to bring it to screen.”

And executive producer Naomi de Pear (Flowers, The Bisexual, River) said: “Hospitals are remarkable places where human beings are seen in all of their glory - where people are their bravest, kindest and sometimes silliest. And 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.”

The TV adaptation of This Is Going To Hurt will be created and written by Kay himself. Further casting and production details are yet to be announced, but we will update you as soon as we know more.

Image: Unsplash


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.