Jed Mercurio is a novelist who regularly works in TV as a writer, producer and director. His books are Bodies (2002), Ascent (2007), American Adulterer (2009) and, for children, the Penguin Expedition (2003). He grew up in England and currently splits his work between London and Los Angeles.
Mercurio trained at the University of Birmingham Medical School and practised as a junior hospital doctor for three years. While still a medical student, he joined the Royal Air Force and received extensive flying training, with the intention of specialising in aviation medicine. Instead, after replying to an advertisement placed in the British Medical Journal, Mercurio detoured into writing the controversial, ground-breaking BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest (under the pseudonym John MacUre). The show was a gritty and blackly comic expose of hospital life. Mercurio went from never having written a script to creating a primetime hit.
Next he created and scripted the 6-hour miniseries Invasion: Earth, a coproduction between the BBC and the US Sci-Fi Channel, followed by The Grimleys. The Grimleys was a rites-of-passage comedy set in the Midlands in the 1970s; starring Brian Conley, Amanda Holden and Noddy Holder, it ran for three series on ITV. As well as creating and writing the Grimleys, Mercurio directed seven episodes.
Mercurio returned to dark medical fiction with his first novel, Bodies, published by Jonathan Cape (2002). He adapted the novel for TV, winning the Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama Series of 2005. Bodies dealt unflinchingly with issues of negligence, cover-ups and whistleblowing. In December 2009 the Times ranked Bodies #9 TV Show of the Decade and in January 2010 it was ranked #20 Best TV Drama of All Time by the Guardian.
After writing a children's book, The Penguin Expedition, Mercurio's second novel, Ascent, was published by Jonathan Cape (UK) and Simon and Schuster (US) in 2007 and made the Guardian's list of "1000 Novels Everyone Must Read". Ascent tells the story of a fictional Soviet fighter pilot, later cosmonaut, set against the background of the Korean War and the Space Race. A graphic novelization of Ascent, illustrated by Wesley Robins, was published in 2011.
Mercurio wrote and directed a modern-day television film of Frankenstein, starring James Purefoy, Helen McCrory and Lindsay Duncan, and then adapted Chris Ryan's "Strike Back" into a successful series for Sky. His most recent television production, "Line of Duty", a police corruption drama series, was broadcast in 2012 to critical acclaim; the programme achieved the highest ratings for a BBC2 drama in ten years, and has been commissioned for a second series to be filmed in 2013.
Jed Mercurio's most recent novel for Cape and Simon & Schuster was American Adulterer, a fictionalization of President John F. Kennedy's personal life, published in Spring 2009.