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Dear NHS Superstars on BBC1 - stars taking part including Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas holding up a drawing of a rainbow on Dear NHS Superstars
(Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

Find out which celebrities will be sharing their healthcare stories in this one-off special...

Dear NHS Superstars is a one-off BBC1 special in which celebrities will be paying tribute to the UK's healthcare workers by sharing their own experiences of the NHS. Here's everything we know about the show.

Dear NHS Superstars air date: when is it on?

The hour-long show has been confirmed to air on BBC1 at 9pm on Thursday 23 July.

What is it about?

Dear NHS Superstars will see some of our favourite stars celebrating the people who work in the NHS. The celebs will be sharing their personal stories of the times they found themselves in need of medical treatment, and the impact the NHS had on their lives.

Some of the stars will also be catching up with the people who played a key role in their treatment, to give them a chance to say an extremely heartfelt "thank you".

Dear NHS Superstars: who's in it?

Comedian and former doctor Adam Kay

Comedian and former doctor Adam Kay will host the special (Photo: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

Writer and comedian Adam Kay will host the show, which is inspired by his charity anthology book Dear NHS: 100 Stories To Say Thank You. Former doctor Adam will guide us through the stories, adding his own insider experience of the health service along the way.

The stars taking part include Strictly Come Dancing 2020 head judge Shirley Ballas, who shares her story of breaking her ankle during a school sports lesson and fearing her dance career was over, but receiving reassurance from a kindly nurse. Former Strictly pro dancer AJ Pritchard and his brother, Love Island and The Greatest Dancer star Curtis, will open up about the time they were attacked on a night out in December 2018, which left Curtis needing emergency knee surgery.

AJ and Curtis Pritchard hold up pictures of rainbows for the NHS

Ballroom dancing brothers AJ & Curtis Pritchard will be saying thanks to the NHS (Photo: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Mighty Productions)

"We saw how professional these people are to deal with each person individually," AJ says. "They took the stress out of my hands when I handed Curtis over to the ambulance and the paramedics. They were so professional, and so courteous."

"We already had such a high view of the NHS because we've injured ourselves so many times," adds Curtis. "But it was incredibly fast how they helped us out. I was in hospital straight away, they sorted me out with an MRI scan, everything was done as fast as possible and they got me back into working condition. I can't thank them enough for that."

More stars taking part

Other stars sharing their stories include actor Adrian Lester, who will be revealing how a GP helped him to understand his asthma when he was young, and Sir Lenny Henry, who will be talking about the treatment his mother Winifred received in the 1990s. Comic duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will be discussing accident-prone Sue's many visits to A&E, and Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden shares a very personal story.

What else do we know?

  • Other contributors to the show include The Last Leg's Alex Brooker, comedians Jo Brand, Jack Whitehall, Kevin Bridges, Rosie Jones and Phil Wang, former Paralympians Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, TV presenter and activist Katie Piper, broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, presenter Konnie Huq, and The Chase star Paul Sinha.
  • Adam Kay and production company Terrible Productions have donated 100% of their fees for the show to The Lullaby Trust, which supports families bereaved of babies and young children.
Steven Perkins
Steven Perkins

Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and (opens in new tab), who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.