Jed Mercurio

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Jed Mercurio (born 1966) is a British television writer-producer-director and novelist. He is reported to be one of the few British script-writers to work as a US-style showrunner.[1] A former hospital physician and RAF officer,[2] in December 2013, Mercurio was ranked among UK television's leading writers by TV-industry magazine Broadcast.[3]

His chief works for television are the series Line of Duty, Bodies (based on his 2002 novel), The Grimleys and Cardiac Arrest.[4] His books are Bodies (2002), Ascent (2007), American Adulterer (2009) and, for children, the Penguin Expedition (2003).[5]

Biographical Information[edit]

Mercurio was born in Nelson, Lancashire but grew up in Cannock, Staffordshire.[6] While an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham Medical School, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and underwent pilot training with the intention of specialising in aviation medicine.[7][8][9] Instead, during subsequent practice as a hospital physician, Mercurio answered an advertisement in the British Medical Journal and, despite negligible writing experience,[2] scripted the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest under the pseudonym John MacUre.[10] Subsequently he retired from medicine and the military to pursue a writing career under his own name.[7]

Selected Works[edit]

Mercurio's writing debut, Cardiac Arrest, caused controversy due to its revisionist depiction of hospital life,[11][12] though the series was twice nominated in the Best Original Drama category by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain[13] and topped a poll of UK medical professionals as the most realistic medical drama of all time.[14] Mercurio served as medical advisor on the second series of Cardiac Arrest, which he cites as his apprenticeship in producing/directing.[8]

Mercurio's next works for television, Invasion: Earth and The Grimleys, were less successful;[15] however, he then adapted his first novel, Bodies,[16] into an award-winning television series.[17] Mercurio held the producer/show-runner position for the first time on Bodies, a role he has fulfilled on all his subsequent original series.[8] The Times ranked Bodies in "Shows of the Decade" and The Guardian placed it in "The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time."[18] The series won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama Series, was twice nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series and Mercurio was also twice nominated as Best Drama Writer by the Royal Television Society.[19]

His critically acclaimed second novel, Ascent,[20] was ranked among 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read.[21] His most recent novel, American Adulterer, received more mixed reviews.[22][23]

Mercurio's current television series, Line of Duty, premiered as BBC2's best-performing drama series in 10 years with over 4 million viewers;[24] a second series (first broadcast 12 February 2014) achieved widespread public and critical acclaim,[25] resulting in the BBC commissioning two further series for production in 2015 and 2016.[26] The series earned Mercurio his third nominations as Best Drama Writer by the Royal Television Society[27] and The Writers' Guild of Great Britain.[28] In April 2014, Line of Duty was named in the Top 50 BBC2 Shows of All-Time,[29] and in December was named best television drama of 2014 by The Observer.[30]

Jed Mercurio is currently in production as the showrunner on his third medical drama series, Critical, to be broadcast on Sky1 in 2015.[8]



Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work(s) Result
1994 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Best Original Drama Serial Cardiac Arrest Nominated
1996 Best Original Drama Series Nominated
2003 Sheffield Children's Book Awards Shorter Novel The Penguin Expedition Nominated
2004 Royal Television Society Best Drama Series Bodies Nominated
Royal Television Society Best Drama Writer Nominated
BAFTA Best Drama Series Nominated
2005 Royal Television Society Best Drama Series Won
Royal Television Society Best Drama Writer Nominated
BAFTA Best Drama Series Nominated
2012 Crime Thriller Awards The TV Dagger Line of Duty Nominated
2013 Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Nominated
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best TV Drama Nominated
South Bank Sky Arts Award TV Drama Nominated
Royal Television Society Best Drama Series Nominated
Royal Television Society Best Drama Writer Nominated
2014 Freesat Awards Best TV Drama Won
Crime Thriller Awards The TV Dagger Nominated
Writers' Guild of Great Britain TV Drama - Long Form Nominated
2015 Broadcast Awards Best Drama Series or Serial Pending


  1. ^ Gilbert, Gerard (18 May 2014). "Meet the showrunners". The Independent. 
  2. ^ a b Albiston, Isabel (24 February 2007). "The world of ...". The Telegraph. 
  3. ^ "Broadcast Hot 100 2013". 5 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Jed Mercurio filmography at the International Movie Database,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  5. ^ Jed Mercurio Author Profile at Rogers, Coleridge & White Literary Agency website,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  6. ^ Jed Mercurio biography at the Internet Movie Database,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  7. ^ a b Jed Mercurio Author Profile at Amazon,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  8. ^ a b c d Brown, Maggie (10 February 2014). "Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ Llewellyn-Smith, Julia (23 March 2014). "Line of Duty:'Sometimes justice is not done in the real world'". Telegraph. 
  10. ^ Curtis, Chris (20 September 2012), Jed Mercurio: taking aim at the target culture,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  11. ^ Dillner, Louise (23 April 1994). "Frightening realism". The British Medical Journal. 
  12. ^ Revill, Jo (10 September 2006). "Nurse! Let's put this medical drama back on the screens". The Guardian. 
  13. ^ "Cardiac Arrest at the International Movie Data Base". 
  14. ^ "Top of the TV Medics". BBC Online. 9 November 1999. 
  15. ^ Jamieson, Teddy (13 March 2014). "Interview:Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio". The Scotsman. 
  16. ^ Myerson, Julie (6 April 2002). "Close to the Bone". The Guardian. 
  17. ^ Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2005,, retrieved 6 October 2013 
  18. ^ Lusher, Tim (12 January 2010). "The Top 50 TV Dramas of All Time". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ "Bodies at the International Movie Data Base". 
  20. ^ Faber, Michel (10 March 2007). "Rocket Man". The Guardian. 
  21. ^ "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read". The Guardian. 22 January 2009. 
  22. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (29 March 2009). "The priapic president laid bare". The Guardian. 
  23. ^ Schobert, Christopher (19 July 2009). "Peeking through fictional windows into the bedrooms of Camelot". Buffalo News (NY). 
  24. ^ Curtis, Chris (20 September 2012). "Jed Mercurio: taking aim at the target culture". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Moir, Jan (17 March 2014). "Is Line of Duty the best cop show ever?". Daily Mail. 
  26. ^ Sweeney, Mark (8 April 2014). "Line of Duty set to return for third and fourth series". Guardian. 
  27. ^ "Line of Duty at the International Movie Data Base". 
  28. ^ Sandwell, Ian (5 December 2014). "Writers' Guild shortlist unveiled". Screen International. 
  29. ^ Hogan, Michael et al (18 April 2014). "The Top 50 BBC Two shows of all-time". The Telegraph. 
  30. ^ Ferguson, Euan (7 December 2014). "The best British TV Dramas of 2014". The Observer. 
  31. ^ John Plunkett (27 January 2014). "Line of Duty's Lennie James to Star in Sky 1 Jed Mercurio Drama". 
  32. ^ Plunkett, John (22 August 2014). "BBC1 adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover to feature Game of Thrones star". The Guardian.