Paul Whitehouse has explained that he doesn’t think his new sitcom Nurse is offensive, despite being about mental health patients.

The Fast Show comedian stars as a number of the patients in the series, which he wrote about a mental health nurse doing her rounds of people’s homes.

He said: “I don’t think [mental health] is a taboo subject any more.

NursePaul Whitehouse plays an obese character in Nurse (BBC)

“In the last few years so many people have been touched by Alzheimer’s, especially because people are living longer. Everyone in every family has had to deal with mental health issues; it is spoken about a lot more.”

Nurse features an ex-criminal afraid to leave the house, a bipolar one-hit-wonder and a housebound cat lady among its characters.

NursePaul also plays a bipolar musician in the comedy (BBC)

Paul continued: “It was a joy for us to do characters with a real depth and it made us ponder why people go into that world.

“In any field where there is professional involvement and tragedy, there is also humour. Call it gallows humour or whatever, but there always is. So I don’t think we’re doing anything that can be construed as laughing at these people.”

Nurse begins on Tuesday 10 March, BBC at 10.00pm.