Episode 1– | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Smart, funny and topically on-point, This is Going to Hurt is a solid and oftentimes heartbreaking look at the trials and tribulations of our criminally overworked and underfunded NHS staff. Based on the book of the same name, This Is Going To Hurt plays out as part social commentary and part dramedy to brilliant effect.
The story is pretty straightforward and revolves around a labour ward doctor called Adam, who finds himself overwhelmed by the stresses of work. This is only compounded further by trying to balance that with his increasingly estranged relationship with partner Harry.
With junior doctor Shruti by Adam’s side and a medley of midwives, nurses and patients arriving with a never-ending array of requests and needs, this 7 episode series pulls absolutely no punches in showing the grueling reality of life on the wards.
The show walks a very fine tightrope between comedy and melodrama, with the later episodes almost ditching the comedy altogether for something far more somber and harrowing.
In essence, the first four episodes have an overarching story, revolving predominantly around Adam’s issues as a patient lodges a compliant following the way he handles an early pregnancy. After that, the final three episodes focus a lot more on Adam’s personal life. His relationships and growing discontent with the torturous life of a doctor are the main focus here.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, this tonal shift may feel a little too much like whiplash for some, especially for those going into this expecting a more lighthearted romp. Given the first episode’s abundance of jokes and fourth-wall breaks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to think that.
However, as the episodes tick by this fourth wall break increasingly feels like a gimmick to reel viewers in before hacking into the more trying matters that the show wants to discuss. There are a lot of deep social themes here, centering on the government’s lack of funding for the NHS, the rich/poor divide and the unenviable hours and mental fortitude needed to do this job.
While shows like One Born Every Minute go some way to depict the never-ending drama, elation and heartbreak that encapsulates the labour ward, This Is Going to Hurt goes one step further, really digging into the psyche of the doctors and, in particular, that of Shruti and Adam.
As the series progresses and Shruti becomes more competent as a doctor, there’s a really nice shift across to seeing more of her on the ward. The later episodes even split the focus evenly down the middle, with the absolutely stunning episode 6 working to crescendo this journey, with both characters given an equal share of the screen-time. No spoilers here of course but that episode is easily the stand-out of the whole show.
It’s rare to find a BBC drama like this that knows exactly what sort of show it is and doesn’t outstay its welcome. There are a few moments during the middle portion of episodes – especially episodes 3 and 4 – where it feels like everything is going to come apart at the seams but This Is Going To Hurt manages to keep everything ticking over nicely for the grand finale.
This is certainly going to hurt watching this, so do be ready to feel a rollercoaster ride of emotion. Expect elation, heartbreak and laughs along the way, blended together into a heady cocktail of unmissable TV.
Verdict - 9/10