Breathless cast announced

Breathless cast announced

Joanna Page, Sarah Parish and Catherine Steadman have joined the cast of 'Breathless'.

The three actresses join Jack Davenport in the forthcoming ITV medical drama, with Natasha Little, Oliver Chris, Zoe Boyle, Shaun Dingwall, Pippa Haywood and Iain Glen also landing roles on the show.

The programme is set in and around a busy gynaecology unit in 1961 - when abortion was illegal and only married women could access the contraceptive pill - and sees Davenport's surgeon character, Otto Powell, at the heart of the action.

Otto - who along with wife Elizabeth (Little) has a devastating secret - is willing to risk imprisonment under abortion laws in his bid to make a difference to women's lives and is one half of a couple everyone aspires to be like.

However, he and his wife Elizabeth (Little) are harbouring a devastating secret from their past, which only the surgeon's friend Dr. Charlie Enderbury (Dingwall) knows.

Dr. Enderbury, an anaesthetist who is married to a former nurse - played by 'Gavin and Stacey' actress Page - is desperate for a promotion that will ease his financial struggles, but newcomer Dr Mehta (Ronny Jhutti) is appointed Chair of Anaesthesiology, dashing all his hopes.

Elsewhere, Dr. Richard Truscott (Chris) is a junior consultant irritated by Otto's superiority and engaged to nurse Jean (Boyle), who doesn't always do what he expects.

The arrival of Jean's nurse sister Angela (Steadman) provides complications for Otto as he struggles to repress his attraction to her.

Kate Bartlett, executive producer for ITV Studios, said: '''Breathless' is an exhilarating and charismatic character drama, set against a glamorous London backdrop.

''The medical stories and events are there to illuminate and complicate the lives of our key characters and 1961 is a fascinating time in which to explore the changing role of women in society.''

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