The plot follows a collection of idiotic Victorian doctors as they slice, poison, and misdiagnose the simpering upper-classes of London – all with medieval theatricality and self-congratulatory gumption.
Matthew Baynton, who was (surprise, surprise) one of Horrible Histories original leading lights, appears as a wide-eyed, bumbling and extremely misguided psychiatrist. Rupert Everett plays a sneering, be-cloaked Victorian gent – an identical character to his role in the badly reviewed Hysteria, a truly mad film about doctors who accidentally invent the vibrator. Rory Kinnear plays an arrogant, blood-soaked surgeon, Tom Basden plays a hapless anaesthetist, and Andrew Scott (currently on stage as Hamlet) appears in episode two as a sickeningly self-satisfied Charles Dickens.
Whether you'll enjoy Quacks comes down to a question of comedic taste. If you're looking for stinging British humour, you should forget about this show. But, if you like a good pantomime character, and can imagine enjoying an episode of Blackadder wherein the sharp-witted, clear-eyed Edmund Blackadder disappears and leaves Baldrick and George to bumble about without a punchline, then maybe give Quacks a try. It's just Horrible Histories for grown-ups, after all.
|What||Quacks, BBC Two review|
|Where||BBC Two, BBC Two , BBC Two , BBC Two | MAP|
15 Aug 17 – 30 Sep 17, Quacks airs on Tuesdays 10pm BBC Two. The whole series is available to view now on BBC iPlayer