October 11, 2008

Primetime TV Series to Show Work of Helicopter Medics

By Jim Entwistle

A PRIMETIME television series following the Great North Air Ambulance will be screened later this month.

Car crashes, raging bulls andmountain rescues will all feature in a new series called Air Medics, running from October 31.

Through eight weekly episodes, the series will follow the helicopter crews based at Durham Tees Valley Airport, Carlisle, in Cumbria, and Otterburn, in Northumbria.

Each episode will feature serious incidents from across the region.

The series was filmed using the latest high-definition technology, as seen in other BBC documentaries, such as Coast.

Producer Nick Jordan pitched the idea for the series to BBC chiefs after a short session of filming with the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for a series called City Hospital.

?I was taken by what they were doing and couldn?t believe it was 100 per cent funded through charity, ? he said.

?It all seemed remarkable.

I took it to the BBC and the series was commissioned.

?Filming was at times quite delicate, but I think we managed to handle it sensitively.

?When we had a bad day or somebody died, we would begin to understand how much the crews take on emotionally and over time we became part of the team. ? Mr Jordan said the series would be more hard-hitting than other rescue shows.

He said: ?It?s not filmed in beautifully-lit studios, it is filmed asmuch in real time as possible and this will hopefully bring people closer to what?s going on. ? Doctor Jeremy Henning, who works for GNAAS when not on tours of duty with the Army, said: ?It has been exciting ? it?s not every day you get onto primetime television.

?We got used to having the film crew around. They didn?t get in the way. ? The series was filmed over fourmonths by BBC Scotland in Association with Purple Films.

It will be screened at 8.30pm and the series will be preceded by an hour-long special on October 22.

Grahame Pickering, chief executive of GNAAS, said he hoped the series would raise the profile of his organisation.

He said: ?The series will allow viewers to experience nail- biting missions taking place across some of the most wild and beautiful areas of the UK. ?

(c) 2008 Northern Echo. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.