Exclusive: Bowker pens ITV hospital drama

Blackpool and Desperate Romantics writer Peter Bowker is developing a new medical series for ITV.

The new project sees Bowker, who began his career writing for the BBC’s Casualty, reunited with Mammoth Screen, the independent production company he worked with on ITV’s recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Laura Mackie, ITV director of drama, told The Stage that Bowker’s drama was “a very grown-up medical series” and that the show is being built around a “big character”, in the same way as ITV’s Doc Martin.

She said: “One of the things we are looking for is a medical series and we have a couple of things in development. We may do more than one. Pete is someone I love working with and I think he’s had a purple patch recently with shows like Occupation, Wuthering Heights and Desperate Romantics.

“I first worked with Pete on Casualty – that was one of his first commissions – and he is very good on medicine. He has done Medics and Peak Practice.”

Mackie said she did not want to reveal too much about the series, but that it would not be like Harley Street, last year’s medical drama starring Suranne Jones, which was a ratings flop for the broadcaster.

She emphasised that it would be based around a strong central role, which she said broadcasters often “shy away from”, and that this concept would mean the new series did not clash with BBC shows such as Holby City.

“A lot of medical series are very ensemble and, if we do one, we don’t want to tread on the toes of Casualty or Holby because they are brilliant and they do that very well,” she said.

The new series does not yet have a working title and Mackie stressed it was one of a number of projects being considered by ITV. No decisions about a formal commission have yet been made.

The director of drama also revealed that Barbara Machin, creator of the BBC’s Waking the Dead, is developing a crime series for ITV.

* A full interview with Laura Mackie is in this week’s print edition of The Stage, cover dated October 29. For more details, see our In the Paper blog.

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