Four true stories of pioneering investigations in the field of pathology, dramatised by Michael Butt from `The Ghost Disease and Other Stories’ by Michael Howell and Peter Ford.

“Now, if you like nothing more than sitting down to your lunch and thinking about death and diseases, then you’re in luck. This week there’s the chance to hear The Medical Detectives – it’s one of those programme titles that really does what it says on the tin.

It’s a series of dramas based on real cases: there’s a Cholera outbreak in Soho in 1854; two ambitious young doctors tackle yellow fever in 19th-century Cuba; a strange epidemic among middle-class inhabitants of a quiet Essex suburb (and I don’t mean shell-suits and bad perms); and death in the Arctic.

This cheery lunch-time listening has an impressive cast on hand: Bill Nighy, Nicky Henson (he’s in Eastenders), Peter Capaldi (brilliant as the foul-mouthed spin doctor in The Thick of It), Ed Bishop (UFO, Philip Marlowe), Ken Stott (Messiah, Rebus), and Clive Merrison (he’s Mr Sherlock, y’know).

You can mix your lunch with diseases – not literally, I hope – by listening to “The Medical Detectives”.”

Episode 1: Death In The Parish – When cholera strikes Soho in 1854, the Rev Henry Whitehead calls in the brilliant but mercurial Dr John Snow to investigate.

Episode 2: The Epping Jaundice – It is odd enough that a quiet Essex suburb should develop its own unique epidemic, but what really baffles Dr Ash is that the victims are all middle class.

Episode 3: That Last Infirmity – Charged with unravelling the tangle of folk tales and bad science obscuring the causes of yellow fever in Cuba in 1898, Doctors Carroll and Lazear resort to extreme methods.

Episode 4: The Stranded Eagle – Years after three explorers died attempting to cross the Arctic, investigators start to piece together events.