Skip to main content

Harry Hill on being asked to be a doctor again during the pandemic - 'It was really scary!'


Harry Hill used to be doctor and is still on the medical register...

Harry Hill is best known for poking fun at our favourite television shows in his hit satire TV Burp, but the well-known comic almost had to get his scrubs on at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic!

The comedian had trained as a neurosurgeon and worked at The Doncaster Royal Infirmary before leaving medicine behind 30 years ago...

Yet Harry, 55, says he never took himself off the medical register and as such he received a call from the NHS in the spring to ask if he would consider coming in for a few shifts at London's Nightingale Hospital.

'That was quite a funny thing," says Harry, who's new show Harry Hill's World of TV begins on Sunday on BBC2 (see our TV Guide for full listings).

"Although it wasn’t funny at he time, it was really scary! When this whole lockdown thing happened I got an email saying 'We’re calling back all retired doctors, you’re back on the register, do you want to come back?"'

"When the pandemic started they were worried about getting overwhelmed and they thought they were going to need everyone – 'We’re even going to need Harry Hill!' - but it never happened and fingers crossed it never does! Because if you were on a ventilator and you wake up with me leaning over you, you’d think things had got really bad!"

In a recent interview with What's On TV, Harry Hill also took a look back at TV Burp, his comedy clip show that ran from 2001 to 2012...

"Most people were quite nice or somehow I managed to get away with it with a smile, obviously I was very rude about a lot of people, but somehow I made it seem like I was being celebratory.

"Most people were fine about it, although the only person who ever asked to be on the show was Keith Chegwin. We had a call from his agent saying Keith would like to be in an episode – god bless him – but we said he couldn’t just be on the show he needed to be in a clip!"

Harry Hill's World of TV begins on Sunday 23 August at 8.30pm on BBC2

Sean Marland
Sean Marland

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.