The London Hospital finally reveals its secrets after 100 years
PUBLISHED: 23:39 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:09 05 October 2010
STORIES from previously hidden archives at The London Hospital have inspired a new three-part TV series. The new 'Casualty 1907' series is being shown on BBC1 from Sunday (March 30) at 9pm prime time. The following two episodes are April 6 and 13
By Mike Brooke
STORIES from previously hidden archives at The London Hospital have inspired a new three-part TV series.
The new Casualty 1907 series is being shown on BBC1 from Sunday (March 30) at 9pm prime time. The following two episodes are April 6 and 13.
The series follows the success of Casualty 1906, screened at Christmas 2006, a one-off costume drama about the lives, loves and losses of staff and patients at The London Hospital in Whitechapel in that year.
The new series uses characters based on real people at the time, brought to life from ward notes, case notes, autopsy records and diaries written in 1907, although names have been changed.
Actress Cherie Lunghi returns in the lead role as Matron Eva Luckes, an imposing figure devoted to her job and the patients, expecting nurses to follow her example.
Sarah Smart plays Emergency Room nurse Ada Russell while Nicholas Farrell is Hospital Chairman Sydney Holland.
The idea was developed when Bryn Higgins, producer of Stone City Films who made the programmes for the BBC, came across the diaries of his grandfather, a surgeon at 'The London'. He pressed for further funds to do a series after the first programme.
He said: "The London Hospital has the biggest and best-preserved medical archives in the world for the early 1900s, which is a very interesting time.
"The medical case notes are beautifully detailed."
But he also uses anecdotal and candid bits of information in the ward notes about the nurses and patients, which would have been omitted from the official hospital records.
Hospital archivist Jonathan Evans worked with the production company to research the storylines over two years.
He said proudly: "The Hospital was regarded as one of the best and most modern in the world in 1907.
"There were always pioneering doctors who were testing the latest medical technology, like using ultra violet light to cure tuberculosis lesions on the skin, or X-rays for radiotherapy."
The TV drama screened from Sunday also shows that poverty in London's East End at the height of Empire was rife in the early 1900s.
Many patients were malnourished and suffered from respiratory diseases.