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Maternal: plot, cast and everything we know about medical drama

Parminder Nagra Maternal
Parminder Nagra plays Paediatric Registrar, Dr Maryam Afridi (Image credit: Getty)

ITV will be getting Maternal, in a new six-part medical drama about three female doctors returning to the post-pandemic frontline of medicine after maternity leave.

Created by director and playwright Jacqui Honess-Martin in her TV screenwriting debut, the drama is one to look out for according to ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill.  

"The scripts perfectly capture how difficult it can be for women juggling family life, whilst under pressure at work, making critical life or death decisions," she says. "It's hard to believe this is Jacqui's first television drama."

Meanwhile, BAFTA-winner director James Griffiths, who's created hit US series including Black-ish, Episodes and A Million Little Things, will oversee the drama.   

Here's everything we know about the series... 

Maternal release date

Maternal is currently filming and is expected to debut on ITV in 2023 and will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios. 

Lisa McGrillis Maternal

Lisa McGrillis plays Dr Helen Cavendish, a Registrar in Acute Medicine (Image credit: Getty)

Maternal plot

The series follows three female doctors returning to post-pandemic frontline medicine after maternity leave and having to heroically balance the intense demands of the NHS and being a parent.

An ITV statement reads... 

"The six-part drama explores working motherhood with wit, warmth and humour and offers a unique perspective on our beloved, overstretched NHS, and the people who hold it together. Sometimes.

"Jacqui’s scripts introduce us to Paediatric Registrar, Dr Maryam Afridi (Parminder Nagra) who is full of doubt that she can cope with the emotional demands of treating children now that she has her own; Ms Catherine MacDiarmid, (Lara Pulver) a single mother and successful surgeon determined to be one of the boys in the macho world of surgery; and Dr Helen Cavendish (Lisa McGrillis) a Registrar in Acute Medicine, who is wrestling with a self-prescribed role that sees her mothering everyone in her life."

Maternal cast

Parminder Nagra, Lara Pulver and Lisa McGrillis will star as the three overworked doctors who struggle to juggle their personal and professional lives. 

US audiences will know Parminder Nagra from ER, while she also played the lead in recent ITV crime drama DI Ray, which followed a detective investigating an honour killing. Laura Pulver had a famous cameo in BBC drama Sherlock and more recently she's appeared in legal series The Split and period piece The Alienist

After starring in acclaimed comedies Mum and King Gary, this new series will also see Lisa McGrillis return to a drama role as the third medic. 

Lara Pulver Maternal

Lara Pulver plays surgeon, Catherine MacDiarmid (Image credit: Getty)

Jacqui Honess-Martin on Maternal

“I am thrilled to bring this funny, warm and quietly political story to ITV. It’s been humbling to have the opportunity to hear the stories of so many brave and brilliant female doctors working in the NHS over the past two years and I know the incredible team working on this show will do them proud.”

Meanwhile ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill says... 

"Jacqui's scripts are brilliant, and they perfectly capture how difficult it can be for women juggling family life, whilst under pressure at work, making critical life or death decisions. It's hard to believe this is her first television drama. I'm thrilled Parminder, Lara and Lisa will lead our cast and to be working with Patrick Spence and James Griffiths on what promises to be a modern and engaging medical drama."

Maternal trailer

There's no trailer for this one at the moment, but as soon as one lands we'll be sure to post it here. 

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.