Stars of screen & theatre
Rebecca Chellaswamy explores realism in television medical dramas through the eyes of a popular BBC soap
New medical dramas start on our television screens every few months. The most recent in the United Kingdom were Grey's Anatomy and Vital Signs. It's difficult to remember a time when television listings did not feature medical dramas. In fact, the popularity of this genre can be traced back almost to the birth of television in the UK.
One of the first drama series to be shown on British television was the hospital drama Emergency Ward 10, which began in 1957. It portrayed the NHS in a glowing light and its doctors and nurses were depicted as angels of mercy. Emergency Ward 10 also had an incredibly low mortality-deaths were apparently strictly limited to five a year. The BMA praised the show for allaying the public's fear of hospitals, and it became one of the most successful programmes of its era, enjoying a 10 year run before finally coming to