The hit medical drama Transplant – which debuts on Universal TV in Africa on Monday 30 November – became the most-watched new series of the year when it premiered in that country and has received rave reviews in other territories where it has aired.
And while it takes place in a hospital, it’s not about transplant surgery but rather focuses on those who are “transplanted” across continents and cultures.
When Dr. Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq) – a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine – flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up.
When a horrific truck crash nearly kills a senior doctor right in front of him, Bash saves the doctor’s life and earns a residency in the biggest Emergency Department of the best hospital in Toronto.
Yet for all Bash’s experience, it’s a tough road. Bash’s training is different, his life experience are unique to him and he’s not an exact match for his new colleagues who include Dr. Magalie LeBlanc (Laurence Leboeuf), an analytical second-year resident who pushes herself relentlessly; Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa), an ambitious surgical resident whose loyalty doesn’t come easily and Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson), a paediatric Emergency Fellow whose small-town upbringing is cracking wide open as life at the hospital changes his worldview. The team works tirelessly to save lives and win the approval of the legendary head of the Emergency Department, Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah).
Through it all, Bash tries to meet the demand of his new country and new job while raising his little sister and carving out a new life for them both in this unfamiliar land. Bash aims high and is determined to succeed. But will his newfound life reject him, or will this “transplant” take?
When Transplant creator Joseph Kay conceived the idea for the series, the 2016 US presidential election had just happened and thousands of Syrian refugees were resettling in Canada. However, Kay says the production team don’t consider Transplant a political show but rather a story of second chances and starting over in life, whether you’re a doctor or a patient.
Explained Scottish actor John Hannah (Rebus, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) to Brieftake.com: “It was interesting that it was the Canadians who were ahead of the curve on dealing with immigration in a positive story arc and I think that we’re in a time in which we really need to focus on that.”
Hamza Haq, who plays Bash, revealed to Evening’s Jim Dever that the producers wanted the show to be as authentic as possible: “I'm Pakistani by birth but I grew up in Saudi Arabia. I’m Muslim so I read the Koran growing up. But every single sentence that is said in Arabic on the show was meticulously rehearsed and practiced over and over because it's been so long since I've had to do it, let alone in a Syrian accent which was completely new to me.”
Haq told The LA Times that he has always been interested in medicine: “But I knew I didn’t have the patience to be in school for 10 years of my life. At least now, it feels good, like, ‘Well, at least Mom and Dad can pretend that it happened!’”
Transplant launches on Monday, November 30 at 8pm CAT on Universal TV (DStv channel 117) with a double bill.
This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Universal TV.