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Series 1, Episode 4 - Fourth. The Indian Mesmerist

Quacks. Image shows from L to R: Mr Kapoor (Kayvan Novak), John (Tom Basden), Caroline (Lydia Leonard). Copyright: Lucky Giant
Caroline arranges for herself and William to meet a charismatic hypnotist at a local curry house for a demonstration of his powers. William has a bladder stone and needs Robert to operate on him. William faces a choice between excruciating pain, or taking John's potentially lethal new drug, 'chloroform', during surgery. Robert, meanwhile, is suffering from the shakes and having vivid nightmares of his time in the navy.

Preview clips

Further details

William has a bladder stone and needs Robert to perform a lithotrity on him - a grim genital operation. William has the unenviable choice of excruciating pain or taking John's potentially lethal new drug chloroform during surgery.

In her quest to expand her medical knowledge, Caroline arranges for her and William to meet Llantha Kapoor, a famous mesmerist. With John tagging along, the three of them meet the charismatic Kapoor at a local curry house for a demonstration of his hypnotic powers.

Meanwhile, Robert is suffering from the shakes and having vivid nightmares of his time in the navy. All William knows is that something unpleasant happened to Robert. In a hammock.

Believing in therapy as a form of treatment, William becomes determined that Robert should divulge his story to try to cure his shakes.

Broadcast details

Date
Tuesday 5th September 2017
Time
10pm
Channel
BBC Two
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 9th August 2018 10:00pm BBC2

Cast & crew

Cast
Rory Kinnear Robert
Mathew Baynton William
Tom Basden John
Lydia Leonard Caroline
Ed Gaughan Peters
Guest cast
Kayvan Novak Mr Kapoor
Marcia Warren Mrs Agar
Alison Lintott Mrs Cobb
Lisa Jackson Mina
Dominique Moore Rosie
Will Jennings Medical Student
Writing team
James Wood Writer
Production team
Andy de Emmony Director
Matthew Scrivener 1st Assistant Director
Imogen Cooper Producer
Justin Davies Executive Producer
James Wood Executive Producer
Rachel Hillman Executive Producer
Ben Worsfield Co-producer
Robin Peters Editor
Lucy Spink Production Designer
Rachel Freck Casting Director
Richard Cooke Costume Designer
Ed Rutherford Director of Photography
Niamh Morrison Make-up Designer
Ian Arber Composer

Video

The bladder stone

William has a bladder stone so Robert talks him through his options. None are pleasant.

Featuring: Rory Kinnear (Robert), Mathew Baynton (William) & Tom Basden (John).

Press

James Wood's comedy set in the days of experimental Victorian medicine continues to delight and engross, even at its most gross. Tonight, Caroline has her first curry, William is doubled up with abdominal pains from a bladder stone that Robert is eager to operate on, and Tom is writing narrative poetry on chloroform. The centrepiece, however, is Robert's recollection of his days stranded on a desert island, which involved turtle riding and pelican tackling.

David Stubbs, The Guardian, 5th September 2017

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