This is Going to Hurt—cast, how to watch, and the real reason Adam Kay left medicine

This is Going to Hurt tells the experience of life on an NHS labor ward and stars a whole host of familiar faces

This is Going to Hurt—photo shows actor Ben Wishaw starring as the lead character in the new BBC comedy drama series.
(Image credit: BBC/Sister/AMC/Anika Molnar)

This is Going to Hurt is the new BBC show starring British actor Ben Wishaw that everybody is talking about. The comedy drama tells the story of life on a labor ward and is based on a bestselling book of the same name.

Medical dramas aren't exactly a brand new concept. However, ever since Adam Kay shared a powerful photograph of 'amazing' Ben Whishaw in This is Going to Hurt, fans have been chomping at the bit to know more.

Adam, whose bestselling book the show is based on, also created, wrote, and executive produced the series. He describes the show as, "the story of a junior doctor in obstetrics and gynecology (or brats and twats as it’s known) and the huge impact this job has on his life—both at home and at work."

Is This is Going to Hurt a true story?

This is Going to Hurt is based on Adam's book of the same name, which is a memoir of his time working as a doctor in obstetrics and gynecology. 

Discussing the show, which is his own true story, Adam told the BBC, "I’d like to think that no one has made a medical show that’s quite as real before."

Considering the gloomy topics covered in the show, it may seem strange that the show is billed as being a comedy drama. Adam explained that, in his opinion, there's no better way to describe what it's actually like for those working in the medical profession.

He said, "I strongly believe that the only honest way to portray life in a hospital is as a comedy-drama. Much as a sitcom could never speak to the urgency and tragedy of life on the wards, nor could a straight drama convey the funny and ridiculous situations that pepper every doctor’s day."


This is Going to Hurt cast

Ben Wishaw as Adam

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Ben Wishaw is regarded as one of the most talented British actors of his generation. 

He stars as Adam, "a doctor 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." 

"Adam is 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."

Ben is best known for his roles in A Very English Scandal, Skyfall, London Spy, and Paddington.

Ambika Mod as Shruti

This is Going to Hurt cast

(Image credit: BBC)

Ambika Mod stars as Shruti, a young junior doctor just starting in obstetrics and gynecology. Despite being green around the gills, she brings all the elements needed to make a great doctor. 

The young medic is naturally bright, diligent, and caring but the challenges of the job means that she still manages to feel doubtful and insecure in her role—as many young doctors do starting out.

Ambika shares being a newcomer with her character, as this is her first major TV role.

Michele Austin as Tracy

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Michele Austin plays Tracy, a senior midwife who's sharp-witted and no-nonsense. You might recognize Michele from her roles on Meet the Richardsons and The Casual Vacancy. 

Alex Jennings as Mr Lockheart

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Alex Jennings is a BAFTA nominated actor, well known for countless memorable roles. However, you probably recognize him most from his roles on The Crown, A Very English Scandal, Unforgotten, and The Lady In The Van. 

Alex plays Mr. Lockhart, a consultant, and Adam’s domineering boss. 

Kadiff Kirwan as Julian

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Kadiff Kirwan stars as Julian, Adam's colleague, and professional rival.

The actor has stared in hit shows Chewing Gum, This Way Up, and The Stranger. 

Ashley McGuire as Miss Houghton

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Ashley Maguire plays Miss Houghton, a forthright and formidable consultant who sees great potential in Shruti.

You might recognize Asley from her roles in This Country, Malory Towers, and It’s A Sin. 

Dame Harriet Walter as Veronique

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Emmy-nominated Dame Harriet Walter plays Adam's mother, Veronique, in the series. 

You'll probably remember her from her unforgettable roles in Killing Eve, The Crown, and Succession.

Rory Fleck Byrne as Harry

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Rory Fleck Byrne plays Adam’s boyfriend Harry. Harry is one of the people most affected by Adam's struggle to balance professional and personal life.

Rory has also starred in Harlots, Vita and Virginia, and Ghosts. 

Tom Durant-Pritchard as Greg

This is Going to Hurt cast.

(Image credit: BBC)

Adam’s best friend Greg, played by Tom Durant-Pritchard, is another person who takes the brunt of the main character's struggle to make his way in the medical profession.

Tom has starred in Feel Good, The Windsors, Judy, and The Crown.

How to watch This is Going to Hurt

This is Going to Hurt premiered on Tuesday, February 8 at 9pm GMT on BBC One. The show is a seven-part series with new episodes airing at the same time each week from then on.

UK viewers can watch it at the same time on BBC iPlayer or catch up on the streaming service after it has aired.

If you're not in the UK then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit show. 

This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”

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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:


  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch The Teacher online. 

Why did Adam Kay leave medicine? 

Adam Kay left the medical profession in 2010, after six years of practice. He considered resigning on multiple occasions throughout his career, but officially made the decision when a traumatic experience at work pushed him to his 'breaking point.' The obstetrics and gynecology trainee was left crying 'for hours' after a caesarian section went terribly wrong, resulting in the baby being born stillborn. 

At the time of the incident, Adam was the most senior person on the ward. The woman, who had been suffering from undiagnosed placenta praevia, lost 12 liters of blood and had to undergo a hysterectomy. 

"I'd had many difficult days at work prior to that and my coping mechanisms were enough to deal with those. But there was a maximum I could deal with and it was that day. If that day hadn't happened, I would have continued as a doctor. But the truth is, that day would have happened at some point," he said. 

Which hospital did Adam Kay work in? 

It's understood Adam Kay worked at a hospital in East London, but its exact name remains unknown. 

Who is Adam Kay's husband?

Adam Kay is married to Game of Thrones executive, James Farrell. The couple wed in 2018 after first meeting on Twitter, and currently live together in rural Oxfordshire. While they don't have children, they do have a gorgeous Airedale terrier named Pip. 

Aoife Hanna
Aoife Hanna

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.