A new television series about a legendary Chinese doctor will be aired later this year, but TVB said it was not inspired by the recent popularity of Korean dramas on doctors practising traditional medicine. The Herbalist's Manual is a 20-episode drama based around the life of the Ming dynasty's Li Shizhen (1518 - 1593). One of the greatest Chinese medical doctors, he was called to serve the emperor but left shortly after to focus on furthering his medical knowledge. His life's work is the massive Compendium of Materia Medica, a cornerstone of Chinese medicine and botany. TVB's assistant controller external affairs Tsang Sing-ming said the series was shot last year before the station acquired the Korean hit series Jewel In The Palace - which set a record when its finale on Sunday drew more than 3 million viewers - and The Legendary Doctor - Hur Jun, which has been showing since Monday. 'Every summer we have this workshop discussing programme ideas for the coming year. The idea of making The Herbalist Manual came up last summer,' Mr Tsang said. The series was shot locally from last September to early this year, and post-production is almost complete. Mr Tsang said TVB often created dramas around a personality. 'We think Li Shizhen will be a great attraction because he was a famous Chinese medical doctor.' But he did not completely rule out the influence of Jewel In The Palace, which told the story of Korea's first female imperial doctor. 'We have programme development and research departments keeping an eye on global trends in television programmes. 'Last summer Jewel In The Palace was a big hit in Taiwan. They might have brought the message back to other departments,' he said. The success of Jewel In The Palace, however, would influence how The Herbalist's Manual was marketed, he said. 'We will focus on the knowledge of Chinese medicine.' An air date for the new series has yet to be fixed. 'Although there's a trend of watching dramas about herbal medicine, it might not be good to broadcast the show now,' he said. 'This could be too much for the audience.' Meanwhile, a TVB Pearl spokeswoman denied a rumour that Jewel In The Palace would be rerun on its English channel in the near future.