A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Series 1) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Comedy
Distributor: Splendid Film

A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Series 1) – Series Review

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Good: Dark humor, great story
Bad: Too short
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(3 votes)
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

We’ve all come to know the stereotypical portrait of an older Russian society and perhaps we even tend to enjoy the ‘rawness’ of this given image. A young Doctor’s Notebook might just be the thing you’d want to see if you combine a fairly grim atmosphere together with some rather dark humor.


A Young Doctor’s Notebook tells us the story of a young doctor, who just graduated top of his class right after the end of the first World War. The fact he graduated with such grades gives him the opportunity to run a hospital, which sadly happens to be in the middle of nowhere. The closest city is nearly half a day away and thus there is not much to do except for the strange patients that come knocking on the door.

At first the three employees of the hospital are fairly doubtful of the new doctor’s competence and because of this, he often gets compared with his predecessor, Leopold Leopoldovic. (A name you’ll grow to hate just as much as our protagonist.)

The story is being told by a fairly strange way of using flashbacks. Why Strange? The future version of the doctor happens to communicate with his past self, making it seem as if he is actually able to influence the actions his young alter-ego will take. We will of course occasionally see the doctor in his ‘present’ time, where things aren’t looking all too well for him. His office/home is currently under investigation of the police, where they also discover his ‘notebook’. The notebook that is actually the overall story of the series. (Hence the name of course.)

Overall we see the young doctor do his job, but mostly we see him struggling with the reality school did not prepare him for. In reality not everything proves to be as easy as taking written exams. Whilst his uncertainty happens to turn in skill the road does not become easier in hanging on to his mission to run the hospital.

The series is rated with a pegi rating of ‘12’ which is something that might mislead you. The series is quite a tough pill to swallow. You’ll be ‘treated’ to a decent amount of very explicit scenes when the doctor is operating, but these often get toned down with a dose of dark humor, making the entire process a lot lighter. This of course adds up to the overall atmosphere of the series.

A Young Doctors Notebook

Realism might not be the main goal of the series, yet it shows us how a hospital could have been in those days. Equipment is fairly hard to come by, as well as a decent stock of medicine. Combine this with the limited knowledge of the people and you’ll see the practice of medicine in its fairly early stages.
Yet another aspect that will frustrate the young doctor on his journey. Whilst he does his best to examine each patient, they will not always follow his advice.

During the course of the first season you’ll come in contact with the young doctor (Daniel Radcliffe), the older doctor (Jon Hamm),  the Feldsher, Anna and Pelageya. Each having their fairly witty sides. Daniel Radcliffe might be known as Harry Potter for most, but this does not mean he does not play his role very convincingly as the young doctor. Jon Hamm then in turn shows us the battered human being that his younger alter-ego will become. The overall cast in the series, even for the side characters only provides us with quality and convincing stage presences.

Each of the four episodes the first series offers us is only about twenty minutes in length. Most of the time these revolve around one single thought or one single problem the doctor has to go through, which makes the flow of the series just right. You’ll never come across a boring section and each bit of information provided to you is just important as the other, even the fairly humorous parts.

The soundtrack is also a mix of very cinematic music, again combined with the stereotypical view of ‘ancient Russia’. Which again tends to tone down the seriousness of the situation, making the series lighter to watch and that more enjoyable.


A Young Doctor’s Notebook is one of those series that a lot of people probably will not know but should watch. The overall story might be fairly grim but it gets toned down enough with dark humor to entertain you from the first episode until the last minute of the last episode. You’ll be wanting more when it’s over.

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A Young Doctor's Notebook (Series 1) - Series Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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