A Young Doctor's Notebook

Genres: Comedy-Drama, Period Drama
Broadcast on: BBC Entertainment, BBC First



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Season 1

Channel Premiere Finale TX Time Episodes
Sky Arts 06 Dec 2012 27 Dec 2012 Thursdays, 21h00 - 21h30 4
BBC Entertainment 23 Dec 2013 23 Dec 2013 Monday, 20h30 (quadruple bill) 4
BBC First 13 Oct 2016 13 Oct 2016 Thursday, 21h55 (quadruple bill) 4

Season 1

Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe star in this wry comedy drama about a young doctor's fledgling career as he begins his new life in a small, backwards Russian village.

Based on the semi-autobiographical short stories by Bulgakov, set on the eve of the Russian Revolution, it tells the story of the young medical graduate's turbulent and brutal introduction to his practice, narrated by his older, more experienced self.

Dealing not only with the superstitious and poorly educated patients, but also with his own inner demons, the young doctor reveals doubts about his own competence and struggles with the immense burden of medical responsibility.

A Young Doctor's Notebook is a fascinating, dark and original, pitch black comedy with renowned international acting talent that will surprise and entertain viewers in a wholly unique way.

Episode 1

Moscow, 1934. A doctor receives an unwelcome visit from the Soviet secret police. Flicking through an old notebook, he looks back with fondness on his first post.

Rural Russia, 1917. Straight out of medical school, the young doctor is sent to a remote village in the middle of nowhere to run a small hospital. He meets his colleagues: overbearing senior midwife Anna, blunt junior midwife Pelageya and his intrusive auxiliary, the Feldsher.

Lying awake on his first night, he panics about his youth and lack of practical experience and wonders what awaits him. It does not take long for him to find out.

His first case arrives in the middle of the night: a peasant with a complicated labour. The young doctor soon discovers that the realities of his profession bear no resemblance to his training and learns that textbooks are no help to him now.

Episode 2

Moscow, 1934. The doctor has some difficult questions to answer about prescriptions he has written. He recalls the loss of his youthful idealism.

Rural Russia, 1917. The young doctor's ambition to make medical discoveries is thwarted as he discovers that the locals possess a low cunning and his effort to fight a syphilis epidemic falters in the face of uneducated, hostile peasants.

He remains determined to make a difference, and to save the world one peasant at a time, and plans to open a new ward in his hospital to combat venereal disease.

Soon, though, he discovers how traumatic day-to-day surgery can be when he is confronted with a gruesome and barbaric operation which leaves him brutalised.

Episode 3

Moscow, 1934. The secret police suspect the doctor of morphine addiction and as they put to the test his protestation of innocence, he recalls a key moment from his youth.

Rural Russia, 1917. In spite of his success in the operating theatre, life in the snow-bound hospital begins to take its toll on the young doctor. His efforts to combat his feelings of boredom and isolation are defeated and he wonders how much longer he can last.

Aware of momentous events taking place elsewhere in Russia that he is no part of and nursing abdominal pains, the doctor dreams of escape from "hours and hours of staring at snow punctuated by horror".

After the harrowing experience of a young girl who needs a tracheotomy and a dangerous labour in the snow, the young doctor begins to understand the allure of morphine.

Episode 4

Moscow, 1934. The doctor takes drastic action to prevent the consequences of the investigation by the secret police.

Rural Russia, 1917. Balancing a heavy workload with a developing morphine habit, the young doctor, now erratic and unpredictable, finds it increasingly difficult to conceal his burgeoning addiction from his colleagues.

After one humiliation too many, he resolves to make a clean start and to modernise his hospital and initiate a proper effort to combat the syphilis epidemic.

But a hazardous blizzard-bound journey to visit a dying patient proves his toughest test yet as he realises how far he has come and is forced to confront his worst fears about what he is going to become.

Season 1 Cast

Young Doctor

Older Doctor

The Feldsher

Belladonna Zbinka

Even Younger Doctor


NKVD Agent Kirill

Palchikov the Clerk




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