Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Reality bites

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 26 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d493
  1. Kinesh Patel, junior doctor, London
  1. kinesh_patel{at}

Cynicism, racism, and how to tell a colleague that he has cancer: Kinesh Patel is impressed by a refreshing play that is unafraid to portray the gritty reality of hospital medicine

The last time I heard the words “tiger country” was when I was navigating my way with a colonoscope through a rather tricky sigmoid colon affected by severe diverticulosis. “Be careful,” the consultant said to me, adding for effect, “This is tiger country.”

Thankfully Nina Raine’s new play Tiger Country is much more pleasurable and a good deal more insightful than a difficult colonoscopy. Stage or screen productions that are based on medical material usually glamorise medicine to such an extent that they become more a simple form of entertainment rather than an accurate depiction of reality.

And although there is nothing wrong with simple entertainment, it can become a little tiresome when what I call the “Karl Kennedy effect” takes over a production, after the one man who acted as general practitioner, gynaecologist, surgeon, radiologist, and oncologist to keep the storyline moving in the Australian soap opera …

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