An Enniskillen producer has spoken of his pride in his new drama ‘Breathtaking’ which focuses on the lived experience of NHS workers in hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic, ahead of its airing this week.

Brian J. Falconer, an award-winning producer, has expressed his hope that NHS workers who experienced the pandemic will watch the programme and say: “That’s what it was like.”

The programme is based on the memoir of Rachel Clarke, who authored ‘Breathtaking’, detailing her experience of the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.

While the pandemic has been explored in some ways in drama, this is the first time that the experience of staff in NHS hospitals will be explored, explained Mr. Falconer.

“This is the first time you will see what actually went on with the NHS hospitals, and every storyline, everything that happens in Breathtaking, either directly happened to Rachel Clarke, or her colleagues, or the patients that they treated with Covid-19 or during the pandemic.”

Mr. Falconer commented on the importance of detail in this programme and how authenticity had to be key to the programme.

“It’s a really important point. The audience for this was always NHS workers.

“I'm incredibly proud to have produced this work, and for working with Jed Merico ['Line of Duty', 'Bodyguard'], Rachel Clark and writer Prasanna Puwanarajah.

"It was of the utmost importance to Rachel and Jed that authenticity was key. We hope that every worker who experienced the pandemic from within the wards watches this, but also says, 'That's what it was like'.

“Because what happened was those frontline workers are the people who make the biggest sacrifices.

"You know, we were all out clapping for carers, and we were doing our bit to support them, but actually, they got no support.

"They didn't even get PPE, a lot of them died, but a lot of them had PTSD as a result.

"Our show is not trying to bring up trauma again, it's trying to say thank-you, to those people who sacrificed so much."

Mr. Falconer says the work is important due to how everyone was affected by the pandemic, and detailed his own experience of working in the film and television industry at the time.

"We all got affected by the pandemic. I was lucky to have worked on 'Derry Girls' and on a feature film called 'Ballywalter'.

"A large part of my job for both those shows was managing [during the pandemic] and making sure that we could keep shooting.

“We felt very strongly about the pandemic, because it was hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event for us.

"As soon as I read the scripts for 'Breathtaking', it's just a really honest portrayal of what the NHS went through.”

Mr. Falconer has a successful CV as a producer within film and television which was recently boosted with a recent win at the 2023 International Emmy Awards in Comedy for 'Derry Girls', which had previously won a BAFTA TV Award, as well as success with 'Ordinary Love', starring Liam Neeson.

Mr. Falconer's 2014 short film, 'Boogaloo and Graham', won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award.

'Breathtaking' airs Monday, February 19, Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 on ITV1 and ITVX.