British Comedy Guide

A Young Doctor's Notebook. Image shows from L to R: Older Doctor (Jon Hamm), Young Doctor (Daniel Radcliffe). Copyright: Big Talk Productions.

A Young Doctor's Notebook

Sky Arts comedy drama. 8 episodes (2 series), 2012 - 2013. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Jon Hamm, Rosie Cavaliero, Adam Godley and Vicki Pepperdine.

A Young Doctor's Notebook

Black comic drama series about a doctor at different ages, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm, based on the work of Mikhail Bulgakov

Genre
Comedy Drama
Broadcast
2012 - 2013
Channel
Sky Arts
Episodes
8   (2 series)
Creator
Mikhail Bulgakov
Starring
Daniel Radcliffe, Jon Hamm, Rosie Cavaliero, Adam Godley and Vicki Pepperdine
Writers
Mark Chappell, Shaun Pye and Alan Connor
Directors
Alex Hardcastle and Robert McKillop
Producers
Clelia Mountford, Kenton Allen, Jon Hamm, Saskia Schuster, Lucy Lumsden, Matthew Justice, Dan Cheesbrough and Jon Mountague

Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm star in this comedy series, broadcast as part of Sky Arts's acclaimed Playhouse Presents strand.

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.

Production data

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