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21st Feb 2024

ITV viewers are struggling to watch traumatic covid drama as final episode drops tonight

Charlie Herbert

ITV covid drama breathtaking

It’s brought memories of the pandemic ‘flooding back’ for many

ITV viewers have been left reeling by the broadcaster’s harrowing Covid drama which concludes tonight.

Breathtaking is a three-part series which portrays the hardships and struggles frontline hospital workers faced during the pandemic.

Based on a book by palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke, it has been adapted for TV by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio.

The series stars Joanne Froggatt as medical consultant Dr Abbey Henderson and follows her and her team as they try and cope with the first wave of Covid patients.

The synopsis reads: “Running out of PPE, staff, and beds, Abbey is forced to make difficult healthcare decisions as her colleagues begin to be infected with Covid-19. When lockdown is finally imposed, the pandemic stretches Abbey and the team to their limits as they confront government policy in relation to care home discharges and inadequate PPE.

“They try their best to save patients but are forced to endure the trauma of loss and tragedy caused by Covid-19. As winter arrives, a new wave hits the hospital, this time with Covid-19 deniers surfacing too, which causes the team to reach their breaking point. Scarred and enraged, Abbey cannot maintain her silence any longer and decides to risk everything by speaking out.”

After the first two episodes were broadcast on Monday and Tuesday, the show was praised by viewers on social media for its ‘powerful’ portrayal of the realities hospital workers faced.

“15mins into watching BREATHTAKING & it’s all flooding back like it was yesterday,” one person penned. “Realising now that there’s probably a lot of it that I haven’t really processed. The most traumatising period of our professional lives made exponentially worse by the behaviour of the government.”

“BREATHTAKING again another brilliant drama from #ITV and I’m reliving those dark days,” a second wrote online. “I was a hospital chaplain during the pandemic and held the hands of dying patients when families couldn’t. I saw people at their best and their worst, I cried with them and prayed for them.”

A third wrote after viewing the episode: “I’m as angry now as I was then, seeing the staff with no PPE, Boris bragging that he was shaking hands with people who had covid. I remember going to work and it was carnage I’ve never seen anything like it, shelves were empty, people were angry and scared.”

“Breathtaking on ITV is as devastating as I expected. Too many decisions from higher up without listening to frontline staff,” a fourth put.

The final episode of Breathtaking airs tonight (February 21) on ITV at 9pm, with all three hour-long episodes available to watch now on ITVX.

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