IRIB brings Chinese “Imperial Doctress” to Iranian homes

June 19, 2021 - 18:25

TEHRAN – Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has purchased the rights for the Iranian broadcast of the Chinese 2016 TV series, “The Imperial Doctress”.

The first part of the 50-episode series directed by Lee Kwok Lap was broadcast from IRIB’s Channel 5 on Saturday.

Starring Cecilia Liu, Zhang Zimu, Wallace Huo, Lou Yunhao, Huang Xuan and Wu Ze Jin Xi, the historical drama is based on the story of Tan Yunxian, a female physician during the Ming dynasty in China during the rule of Emperor Yingzong.

Tan Yunxian came from a long line of medical practitioners, her family having served as court physicians for several generations. 

However, the practice for female physicians came to a halt when many were framed for abusing the form. 

Still Yunxian was determined to learn medicine so she did so in secrecy. With her enthusiasm and persistence, Yunxian overcame many difficulties and rose through the ranks to become the most famous female doctor of the Ming Dynasty. 

Along the way, she met and fell in love with Zhu Qizhen and Zhu Qiyu, two royal siblings with opposite personalities who entered into a rivalry for the throne.

The series aired every day on Jiangsu TV and Dragon TV, from 13 February to 9 March 2016.

The titular character in the drama series, Tan Yunxian, is a real-life historical figure who came from a renowned medical family. 

She was one of the few female doctors that were known to exist in history. Before her death, she published a book titled “Sayings of a Female Doctor”, which was passed down through the generations. 

However, the romance depicted in the drama between Tan Yunxian and the two Emperors is strictly fictional. 

In reality, Tan Yunxian did not exist in the same time period as Zhu Qizhen and Zhu Qiyu, and naturally would not have been able to work at the Zhengtong Emperor’s Palace. 

The character in the story is actually a combination of Tan Yunxian and the historical Empress Hang.

During the writing of the drama, screenwriter Zhang Wei consulted professional Chinese physicians regarding medical terminology and prescription use. 

Lead actress Cecilia Liu reportedly took lessons with a traditional physician to learn the basics of Chinese medicine and treatment such as acupuncture, taking pulse and massage techniques in preparation for the role.

The series received positive feedback from the audience and topped Baidu’s charts of the most popular TV dramas in China. 

It gained attention for its exquisite costumes, a showcase of traditional Chinese medicine and the performances of its leads. The series was also noted for featuring a well-respected female figure in China history.

Photo: A poster for the Chinese TV series “The Imperial Doctress”.


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