Quacks. Image shows from L to R: Dr. Hendrick (Rupert Everett), Robert (Rory Kinnear), Caroline (Lydia Leonard), William (Mathew Baynton), John (Tom Basden). Copyright: Lucky Giant.


BBC Two sitcom about three medical pioneers. 6 episodes (1 series) in 2017. Stars Rory Kinnear, Mathew Baynton, Tom Basden, Lydia Leonard and others.

Quacks. Image shows from L to R: Robert (Rory Kinnear), Unknown, Duke of Bedford (Nicholas Blane), Unknown, John (Tom Basden). Copyright: Lucky Giant.

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

Robert prepares for a cutting-edge operation on a member of the nobility.

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

Cast & crew

Regular cast
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


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).


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