Cutting edge of Victorian medicine revealed in new BBC Two comedy Quacks

This is a dream comedy cast allied to a very dynamic period in British social history which lends itself well to raucous high adventure and inappropriate behaviour, all in the name of progressShane Allen, BBC Controller, Comedy Commissioning
Date: 17.03.2016     Last updated: 17.03.2016 at 11.38
The extraordinary, daring and wild days of Victorian medicine is the setting for brand new BBC Two comedy series Quacks, following the progress of four young medical pioneers fighting to make a mark on the world - beat their rivals - and save lives.

Starring Mathew Baynton (The Wrong Mans; Horrible Histories) as a fledgling psychiatrist, Rory Kinnear (Count Arthur Strong; Skyfall) as an arrogant showman surgeon, Tom Basden (Plebs; The Wrong Mans) as a hedonistic dentist turned anaesthetist, and Lydia Leonard (River; Life In Squares) as a headstrong social campaigner, Quacks is created and written by James Wood, who co-created the BAFTA award-winning BBC Two hit comedy Rev. Rupert Everett (The Musketeers, St Trinian's, An Ideal Husband) will also guest star during the series.

Quacks is a 6x30 series set in the 1840s, when medical science as we know it was still in its infancy, when doctors were just as likely to kill their patients as cure them, when they experimented on themselves and each other. The show explores an era of surgery when the operating theatre was just that: a theatre, full of spectacle and showmanship, where people would come to watch revolutionary procedures, or a surgeon try to beat his amputation speed record.

Quacks is commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning for BBC TV, and produced by Lucky Giant (an NBC Universal International Studios company) in association with the Wellcome Trust. Executive producers are Justin Davies and James Wood. 

Shane Allen says: “This is a dream comedy cast allied to a very dynamic period in British social history which lends itself well to raucous high adventure and inappropriate behaviour, all in the name of progress. We follow the often maverick doctors from one misguided cock-up to the next with the very occasional (and mostly accidental) success. It’s a timely comedy flag in the often po-faced world of period settings."

Justin Davies, Managing Director of Lucky Giant, says: “James Wood has done a masterful job of mining our gory medical past to create wonderful characters for this story. These are the would-be rock stars of the medical world, and while their intentions are sincere, the results are often brilliantly deranged and funny. We can’t wait to bring this to life and there will be plenty of treats in store.”

James Wood says: “Quacks is a comedy series about three colourful, energetic, young Victorian doctors who enjoy a lurid social life of drink, drugs, and complicated relationships. In other words, they’re just like every other young doctor you’ve ever met. I couldn't be more excited about working with this incredible cast on a show set during a fascinating period of medical history.”

Rachel Hillman, Head of Engaging Science at WellcomeTrust, says: “We are so excited to be part of this unique project - a laugh-out-loud comedy rooted in genuine research. Wellcome is delighted to be working with such a talented team to bring our ‘stranger than fiction’ medical history to life.”

The series will begin filming later this year. 

KT