Line Of Duty creator Jed Mercurio has co-written a drama about the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, starring Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt as an NHS hospital consultant.
Filming of Breathtaking was completed in Northern Ireland earlier this year, ITV said.
The three-part series is based on doctor-writer Rachel Clarke’s personal memoir of working on the Covid-19 front line.
It has been adapted for television by Clarke and former junior hospital doctors Mercurio and Prasanna Puwanarajah and is produced by Mercurio’s independent production company, HTM Television, which has been responsible for producing Trigger Point, DI Ray, Bloodlands and Stephen.
Froggatt will play acute medicine consultant and mother-of-two Dr Abbey Henderson in the drama set in a fictional big-city hospital, which narrates how frontline medical staff endured fear and frustration as they desperately tried to save the lives of coronavirus patients.
She said: “I feel truly honoured to be playing Dr Abbey Henderson in Breathtaking, based on Dr Rachel Clarke’s beautifully written, poignant and shocking book of the same name.
“When I first read the incredible scripts they moved me to tears on many occasions. I felt so passionately that I had to be a part of telling this story, the real story, of what was really happening behind the closed doors of the hospitals during the pandemic.”
She added: “Our NHS staff are nothing less than absolute heroes in my eyes, and I hope telling this story goes a little way towards us understanding their truth, their lived experience and honouring their unbelievable commitment and sacrifice on behalf of us all.”
Set against a backdrop of news footage from the early months of 2020, the drama will follow Abbey in her daily work while weaving together the stories of her fellow doctors, nurses, patients and the paramedics.
Mercurio said: “Everyone at HTM Television has felt privileged to dramatise Rachel Clarke’s hauntingly illuminating memoir of health workers struggling to cope with the extraordinary challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m honoured to have collaborated with Rachel and Prasanna on this important drama, and thrilled to be working with a cast led by Joanne Froggatt and crew led by director Craig Viveiros.”
Clarke added: “There is so much misinformation and rewriting of history around what really happened inside our hospitals during the pandemic.
“The truth is, NHS staff gave everything they had in impossible conditions that sometimes cost them their lives.
“It is an honour to try and depict the courage and decency of my NHS colleagues on screen, and I’m so grateful to ITV and HTM Television for giving me the chance to show the public the truth.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub