Playing junior doctor Shruti is a far cry from the standup’s ‘really silly’ sketch comedy but her improv background helped her find moments of levity in Adam Kay’s NHS drama

When Ambika Mod was cast in This Is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay’s TV adaptation of his diaries as a junior NHS doctor, it was late 2020 and health workers were facing a new Covid wave. “It felt like, now more than ever, it was an important story to tell,” she says. “I was filled with fear because of the sheer responsibility.”

Mod plays Shruti Acharya, a junior doctor under the tutelage of Adam (played by Ben Whishaw). “It’s so rare to see a well-written, complex, young south Asian female character,” she says. “Her arc is so brilliant.” The character is an amalgamation of people Kay worked with. “I share a lot in common with Shruti,” says Mod. “We’re both young Indian women, we’re both children of immigrants, so Adam was really receptive to my thoughts. I remember him saying: ‘If Shruti doesn’t make sense to you, she’s not going to make sense to anyone.’”

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