ITV has confirmed the commission of new medical drama, Breathless, set in London in 1961.
Co-created and written by Paul Unwin, the six-part series will star Jack Davenport (Smash, Coupling) as Otto Powell, “a brilliant and charismatic surgeon, who passionately believes he can make a difference to women’s lives, even if that means risking imprisonment under the abortion laws of 1961.”
The official synopsis for Breathless reads: “The drama follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London hospital, a world in which everything and everyone has their place. But underneath this veneer simmers a cauldron of lies, deceptions and guilty secrets, driven by love, ambition and sex.
“The series opens in 1961, a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy Gynaecology unit, medicine becomes the perfect stage to play out the shifting and complex moral codes of early 1960s society.”
Steve November, Acting Director of Drama Commissioning, commented: “I’m delighted to be adding a new medical drama to our roster of returning series. Paul and Peter have created a compelling group of characters at a fascinating point in the history of the NHS.”
Kate Bartlett, executive producer, added: “Breathless is an exhilarating and charismatic character drama, set against a glamorous London backdrop. The medical stories and events are there to illuminate and complicate the lives of our key characters and 1961 is a fascinating time in which to explore the changing role of women in society.”
Breathless will begin filming in London in April.
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