Medicine And The Media

Slings and roundabouts

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 April 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1106
  1. Ed Walker

    The BBC series 999 is basically a disaster fest in praise of the emergency services. Four or five stories feature in each episode, and the events leading up to, and following, the disaster in question are recreated by a mix of actors and actual victims, onlookers, and rescuers. But, as in an episode of Batman, the final outcome is never in doubt: the good guys always win.

    There is a major paradox there somewhere. On Casualty, the BBC's prime time accident and emergency soap, entirely fictional, there are more failures in the resuscitation room than there are successes. On 999, entirely made up of “true life stories,” to my knowledge no victim has ever been lost. If truth is stranger than fiction, then fiction, at least in this case, is truer than “fact.”

    But realistic or not, the start of a fifth series of 999 is testimony to its popularity. The music helps a …

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