ITV has given the green-light to a new medical drama series set in the 1960’s. The series, titled Breathless, has been given a six episode order and is being produced by ITV Studios. Production on the series is set commence in April. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international distribution.
Breathless is set in 1961, at a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy Gynaecology unit in an NHS hospital, the drama series follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses. Seemingly the normal workplace, under this veneer simmers a cauldron of lies, deceptions and guilty secrets, driven by love, ambition and sex. Casting for the series is currently underway, with the only confirmed cast member being Jack Davenport (Smash). Davenport has been cast as Otto Powell, a brilliant and charismatic surgeon, who passionately believes he can make a difference to women’s lives, even if that means risking imprisonment under the abortion laws of 1961. Breathless was co-created by Peter Grimsdale and Paul Unwin, who will also be directing the first two episodes. The executive producers are Kate Bartlett and Paul Unwin.
“I’m delighted to be adding a new medical drama to our roster of returning series”, said ITV’s Acting Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the series. “Paul and Peter have created a compelling group of characters at a fascinating point in the history of the NHS”
While Kate Bartlett, executive producer for ITV Studios, said: “Breathless is an exhilarating and charismatic character drama, set against a glamorous London backdrop. The medical stories and events are there to illuminate and complicate the lives of our key characters and 1961 is a fascinating time in which to explore the changing role of women in society.”