Telling your story in a book is hard enough. But what if it ends up on screen? Adam Kay, writer of This Is Going to Hurt, and Dolly Alderton, who penned Everything I Know About Love, relive the shocks

More cultural highlights of 2022

Most people find seeing themselves on screen distinctly squirm-inducing. Even an unintended glance in the mirror can trigger a minor identity crisis, as we glimpse the gulf between how others see us and how we imagine ourselves. But for writers whose life stories are adapted for television – their flawed personalities painstakingly recreated by actors – the experience can be even more bewildering.

“Bizarre is the only way to describe it,” reflects Adam Kay, whose 2017 bestseller This Is Going to Hurt, a memoir of his hellish and hilarious years as a junior doctor, lands in 2022 on BBC One. On TV, Kay is played by Ben Whishaw, who evidently took his research seriously. “I watched an early cut with my husband,” Kay recalls, “and he said: ‘It’s amazing how he’s got all of your weird mannerisms.’ I didn’t even realise I had weird mannerisms!”

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