Suspenseful new drama Trauma comes to ITV in February posing some big questions about parenthood, morals, and medical care.
Viewers won’t be able to help taking sides in this emotive tale of one father’s grief at losing his son and another’s panic when he is blamed for the teen’s death.
To find out whose version of events you’ll be choosing between, read on for our round-up of characters and cast.
Adrian Lester – Jon Allerton
Trauma surgeon Jon Allerton is a confident, successful man who loves high-risk sports, being a valuable member of society in his job, and family life with his wife and daughter.
But when he loses a patient on his operating table, the boy’s father refuses to let it lie and tries to place the blame at Jon’s door. Was the death unavoidable, or did Jon make serious errors that he’s been covering up?
Adrian said of working with co-star John Simm: “It’s hard playing those emotions opposite someone, when you have to target them as a negative, dangerous, argumentative person. You’ve got to kind of hate each other really.
“John and I are the same kind of actor in that we find it easy to do our job if there’s a peaceful happy set where everyone is just getting on with their work. Whenever he had to get in to that emotional state, the crew were very sensitive and we all just stepped back and gave him space because he’s got to put himself through something. And both he and they were the same with me. Some actors don’t do that; they want it to be all about them.”
Speaking about why he thinks viewers will love the series, he added: I enjoy drama that’s escapist but it’s really nice to have drama that touches on things in our society that we should look at and know about. I hope that the audience will enjoy it and be taken on this great journey as it’s a really, really intelligent thriller.
But I also hope that they walk away with a slightly changed view of how things can be for some people in our society. I’ve come away with a slightly changed view on who’s out there doing real jobs in our society and I like that, as that drama has the power to open up a little world and show you something different."
Adrian has starred in the TV series Hustle, Girlfriends, Undercover, and Riviera, and his film work includes Primary Colors, The Day After Tomorrow, and Doomsday.
John Simm – Dan Bowker
Factory worker Dan is a father-of-three who is struggling to make ends meet – but all of his day-to-day problems fade into insignificance when his son Alex is stabbed and dies during surgery.
Dan bursts in on the operation and is not happy with something he sees, leading him down a road of pursuing justice for his son by going after Jon and his professional reputation. Dan is convinced that Jon is covering up something to protect his job, but is his conviction a part of his grief?
John said: “Although it’s set in a hospital it is by no means a medical drama. It’s a story of two men from very different backgrounds whose lives collide through one traumatic event.
“The viewer is never really sure whose side they are on, initially it looks like Dan is in the wrong, it seems to the viewer that this utterly grief-stricken man has seemingly lost the plot…nobody believes him. The balance of tension constantly shifts between Dan and Jon, which hopefully will keep the audience guessing right to the end.”
Speaking about Mike Bartlett's writing, he added: "I am a great admirer of Mike’s writing and it may be that – having his background in theatre – he comes at it from a very character driven perspective. It is all very beautifully written, cleverly done and well thought out. It was the perfect script; our job was to do justice to it, to keep going back to the true line of the story, as that is the most important thing."
Actor John’s TV appearances have included Life on Mars, Prey, The Village, Intruders, Doctor Who, and Collateral.
Rowena King – Lisa Allerton
Jon’s wife Lisa also has a distinguished career as a psychiatrist in private practice. She feels proud that her family work in fields that help out others.
Dan starts to infiltrate her perfect life when he turns up as a patient, claiming that his son died of cancer, and continues to make her uneasy by arriving unannounced at their home.
Rowena has appeared in TV series The Wrong Mans, Of Kings and Prophets, and Shut Eye.
Lyndsey Marshal – Susie Bowker
Susie Bowker married Dan when she was in her early 20s after being together for some years before. Three kids later, Susie’s life revolves around her family and her job.
Working in a supermarket isn't exactly what Susie wants to be doing but she's good at what she does, and likes her colleagues and it all helps towards keeping the family going.
When Alex dies, Dan seems increasingly out of reach to her and the lack of communication between them causes them to drift further apart.
Lyndsey has starred in TV series Rome, Being Human, Garrow’s Law, and Titanic.
Jade Anouka – Alana Allerton
Only child Alana is the model teenager – responsible, independent, and on course for a good university and a career in medicine.
But there are tensions beneath the surface as Alana wants to take a gap year with a new friend, against her father’s wishes, and then the traumatic events at the hospital threaten to change their family dynamic.
Jade has appeared in Doctor Who and Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.
Jemima Rooper – Nora Barker
Registrar Nora has been working with Jon for two years and was taken under the surgeon’s wing when she first started at the hospital.
They’re now great friends, but it’s easy to see how Nora would like their relationship to be something more.
Jemima starred in TV series As If, Lost in Austen, and Atlantis.
Albie Marber – Alex Bowker
Alex is the tragic teen victim of a stabbing that sees him arrive on Jon’s operating table.
However, as we know, Alex doesn’t make it and his death kicks off huge trauma for both his own family and the Allertons.
Albie appeared in recent TV series Outlander.
What is Trauma?
The three-part psychological thriller centres on the lives of two fathers, Dan and Jon, whose lives collide when Dan’s 15 year-old son Alex is stabbed and tragically dies in the trauma department attended by high-achieving consultant Allerton.
Devastated, heartbroken and pushed to the edge, Dan believes Jon is responsible for Alex’s death. As he strives for justice, Dan begins to unpick the very fabric of Jon's life as his own unravels in the wake of Alex’s killing.
Trauma is an intricate, fast-paced thriller that questions what makes a man good and explores what happens when the very institutions established to protect us and those who represent them, let us down.
Director - Marc Evans
How did you go about casting for the two main roles of Jon and Dan?
Well first of all, I just hoped we’d get them (Adrian and John). You couldn’t wish for two better people to play these parts; they were our first choice. Partly because of the strength of the script and because they haven’t actually worked together before which is always great for television. It’s really nice when you can put two actors against each other in such prominent roles when they haven’t been on screen together before.
They loved the script and they wanted to work with each other so that played beautifully in to our hands. I think they are subtly different actors in approach and in what they bring but they were in the right parts. So as far as I’m concerned it was perfect casting and was so great to work with.
Writer - Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster)
Can you tell us about the process of developing this script and where you got the inspiration from?
I wanted to write about someone who was skilled and passionate about their work and Catherine Oldfield at Tall Story suggested we visit some Trauma centres, which we did. It was a fascinating thing to see up close - the professionalism and skill on display. But I was also struck by the sudden meeting of a random person who's been caught up in some kind of accident, and this consummate professional. I think the story came from there.
Did you have to do any research to write the series?
We did some of those initial visits to Trauma centres, and then once I'd written the first drafts of the scripts we had a wonderful medical advisor Christopher Peters who was brilliant and worked with me to get the medical side right in terms of medicine and clinical practice.
What are the main themes of the series?
It's a story about having to put 100% of your trust, and the life of your child, in the hands of a man you've never met and know nothing about. The strangeness of that, and the consequences when that goes wrong.
Set Trauma to series record on your BT box.
The final two episodes air on Tuesday and Wednesday (February 13 and 14).
Catch up on BT TV via the ITV Hub app.