When the Line of Duty finale is over and you can’t bring yourself to see the drama all over again, hop on the iPlayer and discover Bodies.
Acclaimed Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio wrote this phenomenal medical series before Bodyguard’s Ted Hastings or Julia Montague even had a glimmer in his eyes.
When the drama appeared on BBC Three in the mid-2000s, it received critical acclaim.
However, Jed was not a household name at the time and there was no social media to trigger the storm it surely would have if it was created a decade later.
Fortunately, the time was good for Bodies – great writing and characterizing don’t age – and the show, which ran for two series, is currently open to all.
Although – fair warning – you need an ox’s stomach to get through some of the bloodier scenes.
What is the Jed Mercurio series Bodies about?
Bodies, which began in 2004 and ended in a full-length episode in 2006, was a dark medical drama set in the gynecology department of an NHS hospital.
It featured Max Beesley as specialist Rob Lake and Patrick Baladi as consultant obstetrician Roger Hurley.
Read more: Line of Duty will be broadcasting an extra long finale episode next month!
Jed Mercurio fans will know he was a doctor from a young age, so it’s no surprise that he gets the courage to face real problems and controversy within the medical profession and beleaguered National Health Service.
Body on iPlayer
Bodies is currently active BBC iPlayer in its entirety and will be for the rest of the year. That’s all 17 episodes, divided into a six-part series of the first and a ten-part second season, with a 90-minute episode entitled Finale to end the story.
What is Bodies about?
Bodies is based on Jed Mercurio’s own debut novel of the same name, published in 2002.
It tells the story of junior doctor Rob Lake (Max Beesley) who works under obstetrician Roger Hurley (Patrick Baladi) on the fictional South Central Infirmary.
Lake notes that Hurley is dangerously incompetent as a surgeon and is protected in his work by management because his research brings money to the hospital.
The subjects are obscure and the operating scenes are occasionally challenging graphically.
There’s a thread of dark humor too – and some impressive sex scenes to break up the grave and sometimes agonizing subject.
Jed previously called it “the drama I’m most proud of” and called its production an “extraordinary challenge”.
In a BBC preview, he said, “Our goal is to make the medical sequences as realistic as possible at a time when visual effects had reached today’s technical capabilities.
“And we failed to portray the murky realities of medical negligence and NHS politics that were groundbreaking at the time.
“Sad [it] remains relevant to scandals that continue to this day. “
The stars of Jed Mercurio’s bodies
Since starring in Bodies, Max Beesley has appeared in some of the best dramas in the last decade, including Suits, Homeland, and Jamestown.
Patrick Baladi was best known when Bodies first aired as Neil on The Office. Since then, his actors have included Hotel Babylon, Mistresses, the racing film Rush 2013 and of course the Line of Duty series four and six.
Read More: Mystery Fiction To Fill The Line Of Duty Hole
Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who), Keith Allen (Shallow Grave), Susan Lynch (Unforgotten) and Tamzin Malleson (Midsomer Murders) also star in Bodies.
What did the critics think of Bodies?
Bodies was well received when it hit television screens in the mid-2000s and achieved cult status.
In 2010, The Guardian Bodies ranked 20th on a list of the 50 Greatest TV Dramas of All Time.
On IMDB, the show has a rating of 8.6 out of 10, which puts it on par with Line of Duty (8.6) and ahead of Bodyguard (8.2).
And did we mention ED? thinks his Jed Mercurio is the best work yet …? Don’t take someone else’s word, take a look and thank us later.
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