TV

Everyone Is Emotionally Wrecked At The Fate Of A Character In BBC Drama ‘This Is Going To Hurt’

"This Is Going To Hurt is a bit of an understatement, isn’t it. I’m in bits."

This is going to hurt

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— Warning: Spoilers for This Is Going To Hurt ahead. — 

The new BBC drama This Is Going To Hurt has crushed the souls of audiences after the devastating fate of one of its main characters.

The seven-part series, based on the memoir of Adam Kay, focuses on the immense stress and reward of working in the public health care system in the mid-2000s. It follows the junior obstetrics and gynaecology doctor — played by Paddington and Bond franchise actor Ben Whishaw — as he delivers babies and helps out in understaffed and underfunded departments in an NHS hospital.

All of the staff are overworked, exhausted, and losing grip on their personal lives, as the wards around them literally start to fall apart. The experiences shared by doctors and nurses around the world are encapsulated by student doctor Shruti Acharya, who after months of not getting the training and attention she needs, is finally taken under the wing of Kay.

Acharya, played by actress Ambika Mod, soon starts to doubt herself as she makes mistakes on the job, dissociates from the emotional burden of dealing with families trying to conceive, cops an earful from colleagues who don’t believe in her, and bears the weight of her parents’ expectations — all while trying to study for her final exams and working overtime at the hospital.

We see her character unravel as her depression deepens, with no support from the system or those around her. In one exchange with her consultant, she’s told if she hasn’t got the chops for their line of work, she should just give up nice and early. Things start to look up for Acharya on her last night shift before taking leave — she makes lifesaving decisions under pressure as the only doctor on the ward, delegates, and shows real leadership in a bout of professional development.

Her mentor looks at her growth with pride and invites her out to celebrate her passing her exam on the first go, but they settle for rescheduling another time before parting ways. After six episodes of Kay directly addressing the camera à la Fleabag, Acharya suddenly breaks the fourth wall with a chilling one-off line directly to the viewers before committing suicide: “I’m sorry, I really did try.”

Her story touched audiences with how realistic and relatable her neglected cries for help were, both from the experiences of children of immigrants to the pressure cooker situations public health workers are put into.

Last year, more than 300 NHS workers attempted suicide during the strains of the pandemic on hospitals. “It felt like, now more than ever, it was an important story to tell,” said Mod to The Guardian. “I was filled with fear because of the sheer responsibility.”

“They will often not pee for 12 hours, they might not drink any water, or they won’t have sat down from the moment they start their shift to the moment they finish. Those minute details really helped when we were on set,” she said, of the daily reality of healthcare professionals.

This Is Going To Hurt is currently streaming on Binge.