Tag Archives: 24 Hours in A&E

Gogglebox

This is genius.  Some tv producers must have watched The Royale Family and thought why we don’t we film telly addicts watching their favourite shows for real.  Thus Caroline Aherne voiced the first series and now it’s Dave’s (Craig Cash) turn for series 2.   It’s that simple and it is so watchable for the same reasons other Channel 4 documentaries such as 24 Hours in A&E and the Educating Series have been.  It shows all the beauty and pathos of humanity in our most mundane moments.   You can be roaring with laughter one minute and crying the next .  Viewing everyone shed a tear for Mushy the boy with the stammer on Educating Yorkshire was even more moving than watching the original transmission.  I confess my screen went very blurry for a second time.  Sadly I can’t find the Educating Yorkshire clip (another outstanding show) but here is a taster, if you haven’t already discovered the delights of Stephanie & Dominic, Jean & Leon et al goggling at the box.

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24 Hours in A&E is back

and it is just as required viewing as the previous series. This is the best documentary on the tv, bar none.  It has everything life, death, love, loss, heroes and heroines performing unbelievable feats of human endeavour, and miracles.  Modern day  miracles.  Last week’s opener had 2 head traumas both so severe you thought if they survived they must be brain-damaged.  The final shots of the father who had fallen from scaffolding onto his head, alive and talking to the camera with no noticeable injuries was nothing short of miraculous. In a way of tribute to this remarkable programme I am reposting my blog from last year.   And as a footnote 24 Hours in A&E won at the Royal Television Society Awards.

It’s not just the rush rush rush and the money money money…

Posted on July 25, 2011 by Natalie

Today I want to sing the praises of the best programme on television at the moment. It was up against that business juggernaut ‘The Apprentice’ so I will forgive you if you haven’t seen it yet. ’24 Hours in A&E’ on Channel 4 (every Wednesday 9.00 pm) is the best hospital drama I have ever seen, and it’s a fly on the wall documentary.  It’s filmed at King’s College Hospital London, one of the busiest in London. All the action in each episode is filmed over a 24 hour period, Jack Bauer style. ’24 Hours in A&E’ does get close up and it does get the gory details, but they are the details of humanity.  Of life and love and death, and what it  means to be a human being. The first episode hooked me in following the story of Theo, a Greek Student student at the LSE who had been knocked over by a double-decker bus.  “He was kissing his toes” said the consultant when the paramedics got to him.  His pelvis was so fractured it resembled a map of the world.  He came in unconscious, clamped, bound and confined to the stretcher. Every second was critical.  A camera gave us an elevated overview.  I watched spell-bound, humbled and in awe.  They worked as a team, it was balletic and beautiful to watch.  Everyone knew what to do, and slowly minute by minute they were saving his life. As I watched, I realised why this was so moving.  This was the very best of human nature, a need and desire to mend people, to put profoundly broken people back together. They found his phone and managed to call his brother in Greece.  “Will he walk again?” asked his brother.  “We are just trying to save his life for now” came the stark reply.  The story is relayed to us by interviews with the medical team that worked on Theo.  The brother is also interviewed but we are given no indication as to whether Theo lived or died. In the final shots of the programme we see Theo, sitting down in a wheelchair.  I was so delighted just to see that he was alive, so when he stood up and walked towards the camera I couldn’t see anything for the tears streaming down my face. Subsequent programmes have dealt with the devastation of alcoholism.  The human and medical costs of gang warfare, young black men coming in every week to be patched up after gun or knife attacks. In one chilling episode Sister Jen had to prevent rival gangs from continuing the fight in the wards. They look at the old and vulnerable in our society too.  An 86-year-old lady was admitted. She had always lived alone.  She would have liked to have a family she said, but everyone was away at war and when they got back it was too late.  Yet another sacrifice that her generation suffered. There have also been the more mundane incidents and accidents, the drunks, the broken bones, the cuts and scrapes, there were moments of humour and light relief.  You feel the love and concern of the families, and the hard work and dedication of the always caring staff.  Good humoured and professional despite the incredible physical and mental demands made of them.  I do have favourites, the no messing Sister Jen, who used to work in Heaven for 8 years, patrolling the dance floor for party casualties, to Porter Kevin who prides himself on being the quickest response to the blood call, when stocks are needed for an urgent transfusion.  You realise every one of them is important to the team. As the consultant says at the beginning of every show, everyone should come through A&E once in their lives to make you realise what your priorities are, it’s not just the rush rush rush and the money money money, it’s the people you love, and the fact that one minute they might be there and then next minute they might be gone. There is no other show that can make you understand that so completely.   I hope ’24 Hours in A&E’ wins every award next year.  They certainly deserve it.

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#Educatingessex

If you have read my blog before you will know that I was a great admirer of the recent reality documentary 24 Hours in A&E.  It was a wonderful programme, on the one hand chronicling the minute by minute events of one of the country’s busiest A&E departments.  On the other an insightful look at many of most pressing social issues we face today, ageing, alcoholism, gangs to name a few.  It demonstrated time and time again that the family unit is strong and thriving and all reports of its’ demise have been grossly exaggerated.

Well Channel 4 have done it again with EducatingEssex.  It is exactly the same format.  Multiple cameras all over a school in Harlow, Essex, giving us the same bird’s eye style view of the events coupled with talking head interviews from the teachers.

Last night was the debut, and we met the head Mr Vic Goddard (no he wasn’t the one from the band  Subway Sect).  He seemed to be everything you want in a head teacher.  Drive, ability, vision.  He was very proud of his school, Passmores Academy, and the team working there.  He appears to run a very successful and, by and large, happy ship.

He spoke very highly of his deputy head Mr Drew and the rest of the programme was really about him.  And boy did he deserve the attention.  If my children get to go to a school with teachers like Mr Drew I will be one very happy parent.

I don’t think I have ever seen a teacher with such energy, dedication, passion and absolute ability to understand children, how they tick and most importantly how to educate them, not just in the classroom for exams but to reach out to those kids with profound attitude problems, before they throw their lives away.

As we followed him dealing with some very challenging young people he never lost sight that inside there was a lovely, happy, helpful young person wanting to emerge but not knowing how to.  He never gave up on them.  He gave them strategies to deal with other teachers and he gave them his time and attention.  But he was not a soft touch.  This was not a man the kids could get around.  As he said very early on “I am a brick wall” and you knew he was exactly that.

Mr Drew was an enforcer.  Our first view of him was standing in the corridor making sure that the school uniform policy was being strictly adhered to.  Hoodies were confiscated, coats and hats were not allowed to be worn inside.  Top buttons were to be done up.  We saw one girl sent home for the day for telling him to “Piss Off” after he asked her to remove her red hoodie.  No messing, no debate.  Mr Drew told them straight.

Twitter was ablaze with comments of admiration for Mr Drew.  That he was a “glory” and that comment was from Chris Addison from The Thick of It.  A “legend”, that he is a “tv hero”, “fantastic” and the number one sentiment, that every school needed a Mr Drew.  As my eldest child rapidly approaches secondary school, it is one I heartily agree with.

See if you can spot him in the trailer for the programme and do watch next Thursday at 9.00 pm Channel 4.  It is compulsive viewing.

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It’s not just the rush rush rush and the money money money…

Today I want to sing the praises of the best programme on television at the moment. It was up against that business juggernaut ‘The Apprentice’ so I will forgive you if you haven’t seen it yet.

’24 Hours in A&E’ on Channel 4 (every Wednesday 9.00 pm) is the best hospital drama I have ever seen, and it’s a fly on the wall documentary.  It’s filmed at King’s College Hospital London, one of the busiest in London. All the action in each episode is filmed over a 24 hour period, Jack Bauer style.

’24 Hours in A&E’ does get close up and it does get the gory details, but they are the details of humanity.  Of life and love and death, and what it  means to be a human being.

The first episode hooked me in following the story of Theo, a Greek Student student at the LSE who had been knocked over by a double-decker bus.  “He was kissing his toes” said the consultant when the paramedics got to him.  His pelvis was so fractured it resembled a map of the world.  He came in unconscious, clamped, bound and confined to the stretcher.

Every second was critical.  A camera gave us an elevated overview.  I watched spell-bound, humbled and in awe.  They worked as a team, it was balletic and beautiful to watch.  Everyone knew what to do, and slowly minute by minute they were saving his life.

As I watched, I realised why this was so moving.  This was the very best of human nature, a need and desire to mend people, to put profoundly broken people back together.

They found his phone and managed to call his brother in Greece.  “Will he walk again?” asked his brother.  “We are just trying to save his life for now” came the stark reply.  The story is relayed to us by interviews with the medical team that worked on Theo.  The brother is also interviewed but we are given no indication as to whether Theo lived or died.

In the final shots of the programme we see Theo, sitting down in a wheelchair.  I was so delighted just to see that he was alive, so when he stood up and walked towards the camera I couldn’t see anything for the tears streaming down my face.

Subsequent programmes have dealt with the devastation of alcoholism.  The human and medical costs of gang warfare, young black men coming in every week to be patched up after gun or knife attacks. In one chilling episode Sister Jen had to prevent rival gangs from continuing the fight in the wards.

They look at the old and vulnerable in our society too.  An 86-year-old lady was admitted. She had always lived alone.  She would have liked to have a family she said, but everyone was away at war and when they got back it was too late.  Yet another sacrifice that her generation suffered.

There have also been the more mundane incidents and accidents, the drunks, the broken bones, the cuts and scrapes, there were moments of humour and light relief.  You feel the love and concern of the families, and the hard work and dedication of the always caring staff.  Good humoured and professional despite the incredible physical and mental demands made of them.  I do have favourites, the no messing Sister Jen, who used to work in Heaven for 8 years, patrolling the dance floor for party casualties, to Porter Kevin who prides himself on being the quickest response to the blood call, when stocks are needed for an urgent transfusion.  You realise every one of them is important to the team.

As the consultant says at the beginning of every show, everyone should come through A&E once in their lives to make you realise what your priorities are, it’s not just the rush rush rush and the money money money, it’s the people you love, and the fact that one minute they might be there and then next minute they might be gone.

There is no other show that can make you understand that so completely.   I hope ’24 Hours in A&E’ wins every award next year.  They certainly deserve it.

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