Friday, 24 September 2010


[6.41 - French Time] Yesterday ITV announced the cast and start of principal photography on Monroe, a new six-part medical drama series starring James Nesbitt (The Deep, Occupation, Jekyll). With The Oaks and DCI Banks, Monroe is one of the dramas meant to replace The Bill - axed by ITV1 after 27 years on screen.

Monroe, a drama created and written by Peter Bowker (Desperate Romantics, Occupation), is about Gabriel Monroe (Nesbitt), a brilliant and unconventional neurosurgeon. "A flawed genius who never lets anyone forget his flaws or his genius", said an ITV press release in May. This new drama focuses on its main character rather than an ensemble (like in other British medical dramas), there will be dark humour, and in March Peter Bowker told The Guardian that he hoped Monroe would match House in dramatic intensity.

James Nesbitt is joined by Sarah Parish (Mistresses) as cardiac surgeon Jenny Bremner - who has contempt for Monroe's apparent arrogance, Tom Riley (Bouquet of Barbed Wire, Lost in Austen) as anaesthetist Dr Laurence Shepherd, Manjinder Virk as registrar Sally Fortune, and Susan Lynch (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) as Anna, Gabriel’s wife. Michelle Asante and Luke Allen-Gale play Kitty Wilson and Daniel Springer, Monroe's two new trainees.

The 6 x 60-minute series is produced by Mammoth Screen, the indie behind Peter Bowker's adaptation of Wuthering Heights for ITV, and co-produced by Ingenious Broadcasting and Capico Productions. It's executive produced for ITV by Michele Buck, Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, and Peter Bowker. Jennie Scanlon is the producer and Howard Ella is co-producer.

Paul McGuigan (Sherlock) directs the first three episodes and David Moore (Merlin, The Forsyte Saga) directs episodes four, five and six. Filming of this highly anticipated drama begins this week on location in Leeds and James Nesbitt certainly needs this to erase the memory of the lacklustre The Deep, recently aired on BBC One.

We don't know yet if Monroe will be sponsored by Vicodin or how we're gonna call Monroe and Bremmer: Monner? Bremmoe?

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