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Joanne Froggatt learned how to intubate patients for new COVID drama

Joanne Froggatt plays a doctor in new ITV series Breathtaking credit:Bang Showbiz
Joanne Froggatt plays a doctor in new ITV series Breathtaking credit:Bang Showbiz

Joanne Froggatt learned how to intubate patients for a new COVID-19 drama series 'Breathtaking'.

The 'Downton Abbey' star plays fictional doctor Abbey Henderson in the new show from 'Line of Duty' creator Jed Mercurio and based on a book by real life medic Rachel Clarke's account of the NHS frontlines during the outbreak of the deadly bug in 2020 - and Joanne has revealed she was given training at a "medical bootcamp".

She told Stylist magazine: "We had amazing medical advisors ... who did a sort of medical bootcamp for us, giving us a crash course in medical speak so that we properly understood everything we were saying.

"We learned how to intubate someone. - if you and I were the last people on Earth and your life depended on it, I could probably have a go. Without them [the medical advisors] we probably couldn't have pulled it off."

The show focuses on the struggle of NHS workers throughout the pandemic and Joanne hopes it will shine a light on the heroes of the health service as well as the many problems they encountered.

However, she understands it may be a very difficult watch for some people affected by the issues raised. She added: "I hope that people can watch it, if it's not too triggering, then please do and please don't look away! It's so important that we have an inkling of what the NHS did for us, what they're still dealing with, and how lucky we are to have them.

"The NHS is not perfect, but it's an incredible institution. I want people to see that."

'Breathtaking' is a three-part series which airs on ITV later this month.

Speaking after completing filming, Joanne previously admitted the script brought her to tears. She said: "I feel truly honoured to be playing Dr Abbey Henderson in 'Breathtaking', based on Dr Rachel Clarke’s beautifully written, poignant and shocking book of the same name.

"When I first read the incredible scripts they moved me to tears on many occasions. I felt so passionately that I had to be a part of telling this story, the real story, of what was really happening behind the closed doors of the hospitals during the pandemic."