Is ‘Ill Behaviour’ A True Story? The Showtime Series Turns A Cancer Diagnosis Into Cathartic Comedy

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The BBC limited series Ill Behaviour follows Joel (Chris Geere) whose friend Charlie (Tom Riley) rejects traditional cancer treatment in favor of more natural remedies and has its American debut Nov. 13 on Showtime. But is Ill Behaviour based on a true story? In order to force his friend to accept treatment, Joel kidnaps Charlie and makes him undergo chemotherapy against his will. The plot is definitely intriguing and absurd, but thankfully it doesn’t appear to be grounded in real life.

Co-creator Sam Bain told Digital Spy that Ill Behaviour was originally hatched as a movie script, but a miniseries was a more achievable option. “Originally I wrote [Ill Behaviour] as a film, with Iain Morris and Damon Beesley of The Inbetweeners fame, but the film was really hard to get made, partly because films generally are, but also it just wasn’t an easy sell,” Bain told the site. The showrunner said he was met with mixed reactions upon telling people what the show was about, especially when it was marketed as a comedy. “Whenever I pitched it, people always looked a bit alarmed,” he said. “Like, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting.‘”

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