Ben Whishaw will star as a junior doctor in BBC Two’s adaptation of This Is Going To Hurt.
The Golden Globe-winning actor, 39, will play doctor-turned-author Adam Kay as he struggles through life on the wards in the comedy-drama series.
Production will be handled by SISTER, the company behind Chernobyl and Gangs Of London, in association with Terrible Productions.
Whishaw said: “I am proud to join this exciting adaptation of Adam Kay’s terrific book This Is Going to Hurt based on his experiences working in the NHS.
“It’s an honest, hilarious, heart-breaking look at the great institution and the army of unsung heroes who work there under the most stressful conditions.
“The Covid-19 crisis has now shed even more light on their great work and underlines the necessity to support the NHS and its workers.
“I look forward to telling this story with director Lucy Forbes and the great team at SISTER to bring Adam’s words to life, and I am really grateful to be a part of it.”
This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor, Kay’s first book, is a non-fiction account of his years in medical training, based on his own diary entries.
It topped the Sunday Times bestseller list and won the Sunday Times humour book of the year prize, and has been translated into 20 languages since it was published in September 2017.
Kay said: “Ben is quite simply one of the finest actors our country has ever produced and a bona fide national treasure.
“There’s simply no-one who could do a better job of playing – a much more handsome version of – me.
“Best still, I now have an answer to the standard dinner party question: ‘Who would play you in the story of your life?’”
Kay adapted the book for screen while Forbes, whose work includes The End Of The F***ing World series two, is confirmed as the series lead director.
Forbes said: “This hilarious and heart-breaking view of the NHS, that we have so long taken for granted, feels more relevant than ever – and what better person to play Adam than the wonderful Whishaw.
“So looking forward to working with Ben, and the SISTER team to bring Adam Kay’s painfully funny book to life.”
BBC controller of drama Piers Wenger, who commissioned the series, said: “Not just anyone could evoke the waspish wit, the pathos or the brilliant bloody-mindedness of TIGTH’s Adam.
“But thankfully we didn’t just need anyone – we just needed Ben and it’s a testament to the quality of Adam’s scripts and the expertise of the team at SISTER that Ben has agreed to come on board.”
Described as “painfully funny” by Stephen Fry, the book details in searing detail the experience of being a doctor for the NHS, sharing both the highs and the lows.
It also covers political issues around the health care system.