ITV orders new medical series Monroe starring James Nesbitt

James Nesbitt is to star in the title role of a new medical drama commissioned by Laura Mackie, Director of Drama at ITV.

Monroe has been written and created by Peter Bowker and will be produced by Mammoth Screen.

Monroe is a brilliant and unusual neurosurgeon. A flawed genius who never lets anyone forget his flaws or his genius. Each episode will feature one compelling story of the week about life or death situations. The drama will focus on the way in which a serious injury or disease cuts across the lives of everyone involved, from hospital staff to patients to relatives. And how that group become, in an intense few days, a reluctant dysfunctional family united by hopes, fears and grief. At the centre of this stands Monroe, his trainees, his anaesthetist and his poker school – and his female colleague, heart surgeon, Jenny Bremner, who has contempt for his cockiness.

The series will tell heightened emotional stories and be shot through with dark humour and portray the pressures and pleasures of high-end surgery in a modern urban hospital.

Monroe will start filming in September 2010 in Leeds. The series will be produced by Jennie Scanlon and the executive producers will be Peter Bowker, Michele Buck and Damien Timmer.

ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Laura Mackie said: “Monroe will breathe new life into the medical genre, I hope the combination of Pete’s sharp and pacy script and Jimmy’s performance as the charismatic surgeon will make this one of the most compelling new dramas for 2011.”

Peter Bowker said: “I am a huge fan of hospital drama – not least because it provides the chance to tell big emotional stories based on compelling characters.

“Neurosurgeons are the nearest thing we have to real-life miracle workers, yet they share the same human failings as the rest of us. We want them to be brave enough to take the decisions they take, yet they can’t always be right.  We don’t have to like them, but we have to believe in them. Monroe dramatises what it is like to be at the sharp end of those expectations.”

Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer said: “To have Nesbitt and Bowker working together on a new hospital series is a massive coup for us.  Monroe is a very important addition to our drama slate.”

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