Breathtaking: Joanne Froggatt to star in new ITV pandemic drama

Joanne Froggatt as Doctor Abbey
Joanne Froggatt as Doctor Abbey Henderson in ITV1 and ITVX drama Breathtaking. Credit: Christopher Barr

ITV has announced brand new drama Breathtaking starring Joanne Froggatt as a doctor on the frontline in the pandemic.

The gripping and poignant three-part drama chronicles the experiences of an NHS doctor at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based on doctor-writer Rachel Clarke’s unflinching memoir, this searing account delves into the harrowing challenges faced by frontline healthcare workers during the early days of the pandemic.

Starring Golden Globe-winning actress Joanne Froggatt in the lead role of Dr. Abbey Henderson, Breathtaking takes viewers on an emotional journey through the trials and tribulations of healthcare workers at a fictional big-city hospital in 1890s Yorkshire. The series explores the fears, frustrations and sacrifices of medical staff as they battle to save the lives of Covid-19 patients.

Directed by Craig Viveiros and adapted for television by Rachel Clarke, Jed Mercurio and Prasanna Puwanarajah, Breathtaking offers an unflinching and timely portrayal of the pandemic’s impact on frontline medical professionals. The series has been produced by Playground, known for acclaimed hits such as Wolf Hall and Howards End.

This powerful drama brings to life the real stories and experiences of NHS staff, highlighting their unwavering commitment and sacrifice. Breathtaking serves as a tribute to the true heroes of the pandemic and a reminder of the humanity, empathy, and resilience displayed by medical professionals during this historic crisis.

Joanne Froggatt said: “I feel truly honoured to be playing Dr Abbey Henderson in Breathtaking, based on Dr Rachel Clarke’s beautifully written, poignant and shocking book of the same name. When I first read the incredible scripts they moved me to tears on many occasions. I felt so passionately that I had to be a part of telling this story, the real story, of what was really happening behind the closed doors of the hospitals during the pandemic.

“Our NHS staff are nothing less than absolute heroes in my eyes, and I hope telling this story goes a little way towards us understanding their truth, their lived experience and honouring their unbelievable commitment and sacrifice on behalf of us all.”

Rachel Clarke added: “There is so much misinformation and rewriting of history around what really happened inside our hospitals during the pandemic. The truth is, NHS staff gave everything they had in impossible conditions that sometimes cost them their lives.

“It is an honour to try and depict the courage and decency of my NHS colleagues on screen, and I’m so grateful to ITV and HTM Television for giving me the chance to show the public the truth.”

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