‘I had a huge amount of guilt when I decided to stop being a doctor’

School is terrible, isn’t it? I don’t trust anyone who says it was amazing. When you’re 12, you’re not going to be popular unless you’re captain of the rugby team or 6ft 8in tall, but being funny seemed like a good way of fitting in. I got wise to that principle, and I wasn’t quite the class clown, but I was an annoying, sardonic commentator.

I’ve looked back at things I’d written around that age, and I think: yeah, you’re annoying. You’re a little s—. But I see where you’re going with this.

Despite his inclination to make people laugh, my younger self would be baffled by me having become a comic writer and performer. I’ve always written and I’ve always enjoyed music, but I didn’t think I was allowed to consider working in the arts. I was always going to be a doctor, because my dad was a doctor and I was all right at science. I was the eldest of four, and the degrees we did were medicine, medicine, law and medicine.

I did indeed become a doctor. I worked in obstetrics and gynaecology until I was 30, and the diaries I kept from those years became This Is Going to Hurt, the book that catapulted me to my current home in the J-list of celebrity.

It’s a book that I think my younger self would have liked – I always enjoyed scurrilous stuff. Its more disgusting anecdotes are very unlike the version of medicine that was offered up at the dinner table by my dad.

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