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Ben Whishaw Cast as Lead in This Is Going to Hurt Adaptation

AMC and BBC TWO have 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 Gynecology. 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.

“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,” says actor Ben Whishaw. “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.”

Co-producer and director 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?”

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. and Canada and will distribute internationally.

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