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Quacks (TV series)

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Quacks title card.png
The title card, which shows the main four characters moving whilst a photograph is being taken, leading to it being blurred
Genre Sitcom
Created by James Wood
Composer(s) Ian Arber
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Justin Davies
James Wood
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Lucky Giant
Distributor BBC
Original network BBC Two
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release15 August (2017-08-15) 
19 September 2017 (2017-09-19)

Quacks, created by James Wood, is a BBC character sitcom about four Victorian era doctors. [1] The series combines satire, absurdist comedy and traditional slapstick, with stories often being based on real history. [2] Despite generally favourable reviews it was cancelled after one series. [3]



Main characters

Recurring characters

One-off characters


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"The Duke's Tracheotomy"Andy De EmmonyJames WoodAugust 15, 2017 (2017-08-15)N/A
Robert performs a tracheotomy and removes a malignant tumor on the Duke of Bedford's nose.
2"The Lady's Abscess"Andy De EmmonyJames WoodAugust 22, 2017 (2017-08-22)N/A
Caroline meets Charles Dickens. Meanwhile, Florence Nightingale attempts to take over Robert's surgery.
3"The Madman's Trial"Andy De EmmonyMathew BayntonAugust 29, 2017 (2017-08-29)N/A
William attempts to cure a mentally ill patient who fears being guillotined by French Revolutionaries as a nobleman. [11] John resorts to selling toothbrushes and snake oil to clear his debt, Caroline disguises herself as a man to sneak into male-only lectures, and Robert attempts to gain the patronage of a wealthy Duchess. [12] [13]
4"The Indian Mesmerist"Andy De EmmonyJames WoodSeptember 5, 2017 (2017-09-05)N/A
Robert invents a device to remove William's bladder stones. [14] Caroline hires a charlatan Indian hypnotist to treat Robert's nightmares and insomnia. [10]
5"The Bishop's Appendix"Andy De EmmonyJames WoodSeptember 12, 2017 (2017-09-12)N/A
The Bishop needs his appendix removed, but refuses to take anaesthetic. John falls in love with the apothecary's daughter Nicola, and William attempts to impress the visiting hospital inspector by pretending to cure an actor whom he had paid to feign insanity. [7]
6"The Physician's Hernia"Andy De EmmonyJames WoodSeptember 19, 2017 (2017-09-19)N/A
Dr Hendricks is suffering from a hernia and a rival team of doctors are called in.


Chatham Dockyard in Kent doubled as streets of Victorian London. It was also used as the location of the apothecary and bareknuckle boxing fight featured in the series. [15]

Critical response

The series has received positive reviews, with many critics comparing it with Blackadder . [8]

The first episode, which aired on BBC 2 at 10pm on 15 August 2017, [16] received positive reviews from The Independent and The Guardian . [2] Critics like Gerard Gilbert praised the series' originality, and particularly the performance of Lydia Leonard and Rupert Everett. [17] Radio Times noted the similarities to Monty Python and Blackadder, and praised the scriptwriters' ability to weave the series' surreal humour with anecdotes of bizarre real historical events. [18] [8] Reviews generally remained favourable by the time the final series episode aired, with Sean O'Grady of The Independent calling for a second series. [19]

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  1. Steve Bennett (15 August 2017). "TV preview : Quacks". Chortle.
  2. 1 2 Fiona Sturges (12 August 2017). "Quacks: a medical comedy that will have you in stitches". The Guardian .
  3. Kelly, Stephen (17 September 2018). "BBC2's Victorian medical comedy Quacks has been cancelled". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  4. Quacks on IMDb
  5. "Quacks is a cutting edge historical comedy to rival Blackadder" Radio Times; Retrieved 7 September 2020
  6. Lawrence, Ben (2017-08-16). "Quacks is a medical comedy in need of serious surgery - review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  7. 1 2 The Bishops Appendix on IMDb
  8. 1 2 3 Thomas Ling (15 August 2017). "Quacks is a cutting edge historical comedy to rival Blackadder". Radio Times . Immediate Media Company.
  9. ""Quacks" The Madmans Trial (TV Episode 2017)" . Retrieved 17 June 2018 via www.imdb.com.
  10. 1 2 The Indian Mesmerist on IMDb
  11. On The Box
  12. "TV Guide" . Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  13. "The Madman's Trial Summary: Quacks Season 1, Episode 3 Episode Guide and Schedule: Track your favourite TV shows". TV Calendar. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  14. "Indian Mesmerist on BBC Website". BBC.
  15. Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Quacks Article".
  16. "Quacks, BBC2". Beyond The Joke. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  17. Gerard Gilbert (8 August 2017). "Quacks: Surely one of the most original new TV shows of the year". The Independent .
  18. Caroline Preece (14 August 2017). "Quacks: BBC Two's hilarious medical comedy from Rev creator". Cultbox.
  19. Sean O'Grady (19 September 2017). "TV review, Quacks (BBC2): Rupert Everett's animated hernia". The Independent .