Network DVD / Region 2 / 4 disc set
Featuring John Carson, John Barron, Charles “Bud” Tingwell, Peter Howell
It’s not very often that a truly vintage show comes along, one truly from the golden age of television. In fact too many people (most of them running TV stations it has to be said) have really no idea that there is a huge audience out there for shows that are older than a couple of years. Which is probably why we love Network DVD so much, they are currently releasing some truly classic TV at the moment. Not least a stunning four disc collection of episodes from 1950’s and 60’s medical drama series Emergency Ward 10 which is released on 31 March 2008.
British Television’s first twice weekly soap opera, Emergency Ward 10 began on 19 February 1957 and quickly made a name for itself, in fact at the time it was probably more popular than Casualty, Holby and The Royal all rolled into one and by the time it finished in 1967 it had notched up over a thousand episodes.
Set in Oxbridge General Hospital and following not just the professional lives of the doctors and nurses but also their personal lives too (in fact in 1964 the show created a TV first with the first inter-racial screen kiss when Dr Giles Farmer (John White) and surgeon Louise Mahler (Joan Hooley) started an affair.
Many of the early episodes went out live and like so many other vintage shows not every episode of the series remains in the archive and the earliest episode on display here is episode 247 from 30 June 1959 followed quickly by an almost complete run of episodes from 260 – 270. Discs three and four pick up over a hundred episodes later with a run through from 385 – 399. In total there are 24 episodes spread across the set and with enough of them being in sequence you do really get the chance to lose yourself in the show, storylines range from the nurses gearing up for their exam results to Nurse Jo getting married to Dr Chris to the doctors becoming too personally involving in the welfare of their patients.
It’s wonderful stuff of course and we quite simply insist that any TV fan worth their salt snap it up immediately.
Incidentally the show was scheduled to run for just six weeks under the title Calling Nurse Roberts!!