- Comedy Drama
- 2012 - 2013
- Sky Arts
- 8 (2 series), plus 1 documentary
- Mikhail Bulgakov
- Daniel Radcliffe, Jon Hamm, Rosie Cavaliero, Adam Godley and Vicki Pepperdine
- Mark Chappell, Shaun Pye and Alan Connor
- Alex Hardcastle and Robert McKillop
- Clelia Mountford, Kenton Allen, Jon Hamm, Saskia Schuster, Lucy Lumsden, Matthew Justice, Dan Cheesbrough and Jon Mountague
Based on Mikhail Bulgakov's collection of short stories A Country Doctor's Notebook, the series follows a recently-graduated young medic (Radcliffe) who is forced to say farewell to life in bustling Moscow to take up a post as a doctor in a small, remote hospital a thousand miles from the capital, and half a day's journey from the nearest shop.
Hamm plays the young doctor 17 years on, who finds his old diary while answering to the authorities about self-prescribing morphine. He has a series of comic exchanges with his young and inexperienced self, mocking him for his youthful looks and guiding him through his early difficulties on the job.
Fresh from achieving exceptional grades at the Imperial Moscow University, the naïve and freshfaced young doctor soon discovers he has a tough act to follow. Portraits and busts of his predecessor, the wizened Leopold Leopoldovich, fill the surgery's rooms and he is spoken of with great reverence by midwives Anna and Pelageya and the feldsher (Adam Godley). They show little faith in the new doctor who they barely believe is old enough to be qualified, whose surgery robes drag on the floor and who they remind to brush his teeth before bed.
The nervous doctor quickly finds himself out of his depth, sneaking off to examine text books during a tricky birthing and creating a gruesomely bloody scene when he is required to extract a rotten tooth.
In Series 2, it is 1918 and the Civil War rages throughout Russia, but has not yet reached the Young Doctor's remote little hospital in Mureyvo. It is actually an oasis of tranquility for him. He is in a relationship with Pelageya, albeit one based on companionship more than love, as she is able to facilitate and conceal his morphine addiction.
Fast-forward to 1935 and the Old Doctor is in Moscow being discharged from the institution he was sent to at the end of Series 1. He is bright, upbeat and most importantly cured. Returning to his memories of 1918, he now loves life and is no longer sneering towards his younger self.
Stream and download
- Part of
- First broadcast
- Thursday 6th December 2012 at 9pm on Sky Arts
- Most recent repeats