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Series 1, Episode 1 - First. The Duke's Tracheotomy

Quacks. Image shows from L to R: Robert (Rory Kinnear), Duke of Bedford (Nicholas Blane), John (Tom Basden). Copyright: Lucky Giant
Robert prepares for a cutting-edge operation on a member of the nobility.

Preview clips

Further details

Robert is a domineering, showman surgeon - a rockstar of his age - who's almost as brilliant as he thinks he is, who can pack out an operating theatre and take off a leg in 92 seconds.

But after botching an amputation, Robert comes under scrutiny from the Royal Physician, Dr Hendrick. So John - a drug-addled dentist who's trying to create the world's first anaesthetic - convinces Robert to use potentially lethal ether in a prestigious and pioneering operation.

Meanwhile, Caroline (Robert's headstrong wife), finds herself frustrated with her lot as a housewife and seeks help from Robert's friend William - a kind but anxious alienist (an early psychiatrist) who understands her better than her own husband does.

He wants to help her with phrenology treatment, but that involves touching her on an intimate area - her head. The lines are blurred when it becomes clear Caroline wants more than just psychiatry from William, and he finds himself torn between being a friend to Robert and a doctor to Caroline.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 15th August 2017
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 19th July 2018 10:00pm BBC2

Cast & crew

Rory Kinnear Robert
Mathew Baynton William
Tom Basden John
Lydia Leonard Caroline
Rupert Everett Dr. Hendrick
Geoffrey McGivern Landlord
Ed Gaughan Peters
Guest cast
Maggie Service Sally
Amy Marston Laura
Tom Godwin Mr Smiles
Victoria Alcock Annie
Osi Okerafor Butterworth
Andy Linden Fitz
Adam Ewan Tom
Georgia Brown Maggie
Bekka Bowling Becky
Georgie Glen Mrs Pope
Selina Griffiths Matron
Nicholas Blane Duke of Bedford
Writing team
James Wood Writer
Production team
Andy de Emmony Director
Imogen Cooper Producer
Justin Davies Executive Producer
James Wood Executive Producer
Rachel Hillman Executive Producer
Ben Worsfield Co-producer
Billy Sneddon Editor
Lucy Spink Production Designer
Rachel Freck Casting Director
Richard Cooke Costume Designer
Niamh Morrison Make-up Designer
Ian Arber Composer
John Pardue Director of Photography
Mark Taylor 1st Assistant Director


A record breaking amputation

Robert is a surgeon in Victorian London - an era when surgeons were the rockstars of their day.

Featuring: Rory Kinnear (Robert), Ed Gaughan (Peters), Maggie Service (Sally) & Tom Godwin (Mr Smiles).


Quacks: in need of serious surgery - review

I'm not quite sure what's gone wrong with Quacks, but it's in need of some serious surgery.

Ben Lawrence, The Telegraph, 16th August 2017

This rollicking medical farce set in a convincingly pungent Victorian London comes courtesy of James Wood, co-creator of Rev. A talented cast - including Rory Kinnear as a fame-hungry sawbones, Tom Basden as a cocaine-fuelled dentist and Mathew Baynton as a wide-eyed alienist - amp up their performances to match the fevered plotting, while hawkish Rupert Everett swoops in to steal scenes as mercurial royal physician Dr Hendrick.

Graeme Virtue, The Guardian, 15th August 2017

Preview: Quacks

From the creator of Rev. comes a new sitcom exploring the world of Victorian medicine.

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 15th August 2017

Quacks, BBC2, preview

The middle of August is probably not the normal time to launch a new sitcom, but then Quacks is not a normal sitcom.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 15th August 2017

Quacks preview

The team behind Quacks, BBC Two's new period medical comedy, are very proud of the research they've put in to ensure their scripts are historically accurate.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 15th August 2017

Quacks: a historical comedy to rival Blackadder

The new absurd historical sitcom from Rev writer James Wood packs enough laughs to compete with the Richard Curtis and Ben Elton classic.

Thomas Liang, Radio Times, 15th August 2017

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