Hospital corners

Thursday, April 12, 2007 by

And so, it was to London’s apt The Hospital nightspot for a press launch of the complete Cardiac Arrest on DVD (it’s in the shops on Monday). An unusual affair indeed. The show – for all its brilliance – hardly has a huge profile, but it seems the cast themselves were clamouring to give it a big old push.

At the rather intimate press conference: the show’s writer Jed Mercurio, Andrew Lancel (Dr Andrew Collin), Helen Baxendale (Dr Claire Maitland) and Jonathan Dow (Dr James Mortimer). All were clearly enthused and happy to talk about the series, busking well when a pair of old buffers broke in with: “Do you have a nice home?”.

On Cardiac Arrest‘s creation, Mercurio said:

It was the first thing I ever wrote, really. Before that it had been rubbish sketches for the Medics’ Revue. What happened was World Productions put an advert in the British Medical Journal. They were looking to recruit doctors to – I think – work on a show they had in development, which was a comedy or something. They didn’t have a very specific idea, but they met some professionals, and I was one of the ones who’d responded.

I just started talking about what it was like to be a hospital doctor at that time – the early ’90s. They thought it was something original that hadn’t really been portrayed in medical drama. TV had traditionally taken quite an old fashioned view of what was happening in the NHS. And they called me back a couple of weeks later and asked me if I’d work that up into some kind of outline for a series. And, thereafter, I kind of worked very closely with the people at World to develop the show.

Rather neatly, he also spoke about why the programme finished after three series …

Usual reasons. The channel. The Controller of BBC1 changed. When a new Controller comes in, they always want to show they’re a genius, and so they kill off all the programmes that they haven’t commissioned. I can’t remember who it was … I think it was Michael Jackson. He cancels all the dramas that didn’t get 10 million and then just kills off a whole load of things that were really promising and then pisses off to America six months later. So, well done, Michael.


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