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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

The first realistic television drama about the NHS?

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 11 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2682
  1. Sally Carter, technical editor, BMJ
  1. scarter{at}

The hard hitting 1983 drama The Nation’s Health was one of the first to show the fallibility of doctors and the health system, says Sally Carter. It kicks off a season at the British Film Institute exploring portrayals of the NHS on television

The British Film Institute is showing a season of television programmes and hosting panel discussions in May to consider how the NHS has been represented on television since its inception. Are changes in the portrayals of the NHS a reflection or a cause of changes in public attitudes to the service? The season includes screenings of the drama series Emergency—Ward 10, General Hospital, Casualty, various medical documentaries, and comedies such as Doctor in Charge and Surgical Spirit.

The season begins with the drama series The Nation’s Health, written by G F Newman and aired in 1983. The four 85 minute episodes—“Acute,” “Decline,” “Chronic,” and “Collapse”—will be shown two at a time with intervals between episodes and a question and answer session with G F Newman afterwards. It’s good that viewers get a break between the …

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