Bodies (TV series)

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Bodies
Bodies title card.jpg
Genre Medical drama
Created by Jed Mercurio
Written by Jed Mercurio
Rachel Anthony
Richard Zajdlic
Starring Max Beesley
Patrick Baladi
Neve McIntosh
Keith Allen
Susan Lynch
Tamzin Malleson
Preeya Kalidas
Simon Lowe
Hattie Morahan
Vicky Hall
Nicholas Palliser
Saskia Reeves
Mary Stockley
Theme music composer John Lunn
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 17 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) John Yorke
Mark Redhead
Gareth Neame
Producer(s) Jed Mercurio
Cinematography Nick Dance
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Hat Trick Productions
Release
Original network BBC Three
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 23 June 2004 (2004-06-23) – 13 December 2006 (2006-12-13)

Bodies is a British television medical drama produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. Created by Jed Mercurio, the series first broadcast on 23 June 2004, and is based on Mercurio's book of the same name.[1] The series is centred on specialist registrar Rob Lake (Max Beesley), who starts in a new post in the Obstetrics and gynaecology department at the fictional South Central Infirmary, under the guidance of consultant obstetrician Roger Hurley (Patrick Baladi).[2]

The series differed from most other archetypal British hospital dramas, in that the surgical scenes were notable for their graphic nature, offering intimate detail of various procedures, and the operational complications dealt with in explicit detail. As a result, the themes were also often dark and depressing, including negligence, manipulation and death. Bodies has been described as a "dark, sometimes funny" take on a genre that had been made popular through shows such as Casualty and Holby City. In December 2009, The Times ranked Bodies in ninth place in it's list of "Shows of the Decade", and in January 2010, The Guardian ranked Bodies number twenty of "The Greatest Television Dramas of All Time".[3]

The first series was released on DVD on 30 October 2006.[4] The second series, including the finale, was released on 26 December 2006.[5] A complete box set was released on 9 April 2007.[6]

Broadcast[edit]

The first series debuted on BBC Three, as at the time, the channel were trying to break out into hour-long dramas, and felt Bodies was a strong contender to offer. The first series soon made the move to a terrestrial channel, as BBC Two aired it towards the end of 2004. With end of the first series left open-ended, BBC Three and BBC Two co-commissioned a second series, increasing the number of episodes from six to ten. BBC Two debuted the second series in September 2005, with BBC Three airing the next episode straight after, like many other BBC dramas at the time.

Despite widespread critical acclaim, the BBC did not order a third series. However, after the second series ended, Max Beesley told BBC Radio 1's The Chris Moyles Show that an additional one or two episodes were being planned to conclude the series. Subsequently, a feature-length final episode was broadcast on 13 December 2006, on BBC Three. The entire first and second series were also broadcast to American audiences on digital channel BBC America during the Summer and Autumn of 2005.

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2004)[edit]

Lake (Max Beesley) realises that despite his friendly, professional demeanour and strong academics, his colleague, Hurley (Patrick Baladi), is an incompetent surgeon who regularly bungles surgical procedures, to the detriment of his patients. Hurley is, however, protected by the principle "Doctors look after doctors", a phrase often repeated throughout the series. Initially, Lake is also protected by this principle, when his involvement in a death of a patient is covered up, although this death haunts him. Initially, Lake seeks to become a whistleblower, after seeing Hurley's gross incompetence and negligence, particularly after he badly mishandles a birth in which an abruption occurs, leaving the mother with substantial brain damage. The anaesthetist for the operation, Dr. Maria Orton (Susan Lynch), makes an official complaint against Hurley, but her colleagues close ranks around him. The pregnant Dr. Orton is ostracised, and the stress of the situation causes her to miscarry. She is eventually sectioned and admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Pressure from outside authorities, hospital politics and blackmail from Hurley eventually forces Lake into silence. Unable to oust him yet forced to work with him, Lake soon seeks a way out and finds a post at another hospital. But Hurley, despite agreeing that he should move on, changes his mind, ruins Lake's chance to escape by informing his new employers of Lake's mistakes and his real reasons for wanting to leave. At the end of the season, Hurley is shown to be in line for promotion as the hospital's clinical director. Lake, trapped in his job, comes clean to the relatives of the patient whose death he caused, so that, in his own words, he may be judged. The series ends on this cliffhanger.

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[7]
Sourced by BARB.
Original airdate
1 "Episode 1" John Strickland Jed Mercurio TBA 23 June 2004 (2004-06-23)
2 "Episode 2" John Strickland Jed Mercurio TBA 30 June 2004 (2004-06-30)
3 "Episode 3" Richard Laxton Jed Mercurio TBA 6 July 2004 (2004-07-06)
4 "Episode 4" Richard Laxton Jed Mercurio TBA 13 July 2004 (2004-07-13)
5 "Episode 5" Jon East Jed Mercurio TBA 20 July 2004 (2004-07-20)
6 "Episode 6" Jon East Jed Mercurio TBA 27 July 2004 (2004-07-27)

Series 2 (2005)[edit]

The series continues with the main overlying storyline of the constant struggle between Hurley and Lake. This season also saw the arrival of a new departmental manager, Chrissy Farrell (Vicky Hall). At the start of the second series, Lake is about to leave the hospital but, with no real job prospects elsewhere, he decides to remain. Lake and Hurley then begin to form a respectful professional relationship, with Lake turning a blind eye to Hurley's incompetence. Despite this, Donna Rix (Neve McIntosh), a nurse with whom Lake was having an affair, views Hurley's ineptitude with increasing alarm. She starts to vocalize her distress and sends anonymous letters to Hurley and other members of staff in an attempt to bring wider attention to this issue. Lake, seeing this, pleads with Donna to act with restraint, claiming that Hurley will be brought down but not in this fashion. Towards the end of the series, Hurley's life begins to take a downward spiral. Attempts to have another child are scuppered after he finds out he has a low sperm count and furthermore, is suspected of having an affair with a fellow doctor, soon leading to the breakdown of his marriage.

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[7]
Sourced by BARB.
Original airdate
1 "Episode 1" John Strickland Jed Mercurio TBA 18 September 2005 (2005-09-18)
2 "Episode 2" John Strickland Jed Mercurio TBA 1 October 2005 (2005-10-01)
3 "Episode 3" Iain B. Macdonald Jed Mercurio TBA 2 October 2005 (2005-10-02)
4 "Episode 4" Iain B. Macdonald Jed Mercurio TBA 9 October 2005 (2005-10-09)
5 "Episode 5" Douglas Mackinnon Jed Mercurio TBA 16 October 2005 (2005-10-16)
6 "Episode 6" Douglas Mackinnon Jed Mercurio TBA 23 October 2005 (2005-10-23)
7 "Episode 7" Iain B. Macdonald Richard Zajdlic TBA 6 November 2005 (2005-11-06)
8 "Episode 8" Iain B. Macdonald Rachel Anthony TBA 12 November 2005 (2005-11-12)
9 "Episode 9" Jed Mercurio Jed Mercurio TBA 20 November 2005 (2005-11-20)
10 "Episode 10" Jed Mercurio Jed Mercurio TBA 20 November 2005 (2005-11-20)

Finale (2006)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Ratings (in millions)[7]
Sourced by BARB.
Original airdate
1 "Finale" John Strickland Jed Mercurio TBA 13 December 2006 (2006-12-13)
Rob is now placed at a University Hospital, and is about to father a child with co-worker Polly Grey (Tamzin Malleson). Hurley's life, however, has continued to deteriorate. He is forced to resign from his position after being arrested for indecent exposure and takes up a new job, coincidentally at Rob's new place of work. Donna on the other hand has left nursing altogether and has become a journalist. When Lake and Hurley meet up once more, old tensions are revived. However, Hurley's reputation has experienced significant decline and is a far weaker figure in Lake's eyes. Consequently, he renews his attacks on Hurley's incompetence with renewed vigour, especially after encountering another maternal and foetal death at the hands of Hurley; and also by the fact Lake has begun to show symptoms of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease due to Hurley cutting Lake during a surgical operation, so feels he has little to lose. Lake's girlfriend Polly then goes into labour. Complications soon arise and the baby has to be delivered surgically, bringing Lake into direct conflict with Hurley. Hurley begins to operate, however halfway through, Lake, fearing further harm to mother and child, forces him to step aside and allow him to finish. The birth goes through successfully, but Polly is so distraught by the process that she promises that he will never see her or his baby. Consequently, Lake, without a family and with a potentially fatal disease, decides to fully indict Hurley. Knowing that it will ruin his career, Lake reports Hurley to the General Medical Council, subsequently suspending him from his position as consultant at University Hospital. Lake decides to find out whether or not he has contracted the human strain of Mad cow disease.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2004 Royal Television Society Best Drama Series Jed Mercurio, Mark Redhead, Sue de Beauvoir Nominated
2004 Royal Television Society Best Drama Writer Jed Mercurio Nominated
2004 Royal Television Society Best Make-Up Effects Davy Jones Won
2004 BAFTA Best Drama Series Jed Mercurio, Mark Redhead, Sue de Beauvoir Nominated
2005 Royal Television Society Best Drama Series Jed Mercurio, Mark Redhead, Sue de Beauvoir Won
2005 Royal Television Society Best Drama Writer Jed Mercurio Nominated
2005 Royal Television Society Best Make-Up Effects Millennium FX Won
2005 BAFTA Best Drama Series Jed Mercurio, Mark Redhead, Sue de Beauvoir Nominated

References[edit]

External links[edit]