Fly-on-the-wall documentary Island Medics made its BBC debut on Monday – with humour and heartwarming stories at its core.
The daytime behind the scenes show features doctors and nurses at the Gilbert Bain, as well as paramedics, coastguard and lifeboat crews.
Kevin Whatley of Inspector Morse fame provides narration. And while the introduction may have a few eyes rolling for locals (“there are more puffins than people and more seals than supermarkets”) nevertheless Monday’s show was a very positive start.
Medical staff are open with the camera crews and it’s clear the filmmakers have tried to pull out a variety of stories – from strongman Dhanni Moar having his nose glued together after an encounter with an extractor fan, to a leisure boat becoming entangled in fishing gear, and a rush to rescue an oil worker with a suspected spinal injury.
Aerial footage interjects the drama with the stunning cliffs of Eshaness among the coastal snapshots, and there’s a Shetland pony too.
Series Producer Tom Cara said Shetland was packed with characters “there’s a great sense of humour on the islands and a great sense of community – and we really wanted to show off how warm, welcoming and funny Shetlanders are”.
Mr Cara said: “We were looking for somewhere really unusual for the series, a place that had a medical set up like nowhere else in the UK – and Shetland fitted the bill perfectly.
“The NHS on Shetland operates in a truly unique way – from the GPs in the more isolated corners who sometimes provide their own out of hours service, meaning they’re on call 24 hours a day – to the surgeons in the Gilbert Bain Hospital, who have to perform many different types of operation (which is something that doesn’t happen in mainland hospitals).
“As we researched the islands’ medics, we just found more and more that was interesting and inspiring – the emergency services all work together, hand in glove, to provide an incredible level of care to the residents but also the tourists, oil workers and fishermen who work in the sea around the islands – and people really go out of their way to help each other.”
• The 10-part series will be shown weekdays at 9.15am on BBC One.