What do you get when you bring a mad man, a wizard, Russian literature, and British television together? The critically-acclaimed and UK-viewer favorite comedy-drama A Young Doctor’s Notebook.
A Young Doctor’s Notebook is based on the same-titled collection of short stories by the renowned Russian writer (and former doctor) Mikhail Bulgakov, and stars Jon Hamm (Mad Men, 30 Rock) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, The Woman in Black) as the older and younger selves of the dramatized Bulgakov.
Semi-autobiographical in content and darkly humorous in nature, the dramedy is an account of Bulgakov’s experiences working newly as a doctor in the remote village of Muryovo during the Russian Revolution. His stories, as detailed in his notebook, are recounted by the older, opiate-addicted Doctor (Hamm), whose narration is played out on screen by Radcliffe as his younger, fresh-out-of-school doctor self.
It’s 1917. Russia is in turmoil and so is the young Doctor, whose introduction to practicing medicine seems as unstable as the government. Patients are poorly educated and superstitious, the burden of medical responsibility is immense, and his sense of competence devolves into bouts of doubt.
The atmosphere is bleak, the action at times frenetic, and scenes can be gory. Yet humor is injected throughout, most notably in the exchanges between the Doctor’s older and younger selves.
Sky Arts in the UK first brought A Young Doctor’s Notebook to telly last year, and the series became the network’s highest-rated program ever, with audience levels up more than 1000% for its time slot. In the US, Ovation will premiere the first of the series’ four episodes on 2 October 2013.
Said Jon Hamm:
“I’m thrilled that Ovation has picked up the rights to broadcast A Young Doctor’s Notebook stateside. Like our UK benefactor Sky Arts, they have proven to be a singular champion of unique, artistic projects that often remain unseen in the current commercial broadcast landscape. I hope everyone enjoys A Young Doctor’s Notebook as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Both Hamm and Radcliffe are reprising their roles for the second series of A Young Doctor’s Notebook, which will debut on Sky Arts later in 2013.