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The true drama is found in real life, not fiction

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 13, 2013

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Scott and Bailey (ITV1, Wednesdays) returned last week with its usual flair and class, as Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) investigated the murder of an elderly woman who shared her home with her bedridden husband.

Suspicion fell on the couple's estranged daughter – the victim, it transpires, of physical and sexual abuse during her childhood.

And DCI Gill Murray (the brilliant Amelia Bullimore) was being held at knifepoint in her car by an unseen assailant.

But there were some unanswered questions in the opening episode. What was happening in Janet's marriage? She and her husband were divorcing, but still living under the same roof. Has Adrian found someone else? And what about Rachel? It turns out she has married PC Sean McCartney (Sean Maguire), despite serious misgivings about the relationship.

In the ultimate cliffhanger, we had to wait until this week to have some of the answers.

Rachel's wedding day was against her better judgment, it seems. She wasn't sure about Sean and just a few months later is already regretting it... she just doesn't want to be known as someone who was married for "five minutes".

The wedding reception included the painful sight of Rachel's mother (a delightfully unihibited Tracie Bennett) doing a drunken karaoke before being caught by DCI Murray draped over the bonnet of a car in the car park enjoying the attentions of Rachel and Janet's married colleague Pete Readyough (Tony Mooney).

Great writing, strong performances and engaging storylines make this a welcome return for Scott and Bailey.

But the real drama this week came from life, not fiction.

24 Hours in A&E (Wednesday, Channel 4) returned for a new series and we had the third instalment of the epic documentary Keeping Britain Alive: the NHS in a Day (BBC2, Tuesday).

I suspect the BBC series owes a lot to its Channel 4 counterpart and Channel 4's sister documentary One Born Every Minute.

Small cameras (no need for crew standing at the foot of the bed) can quietly capture intimate moments in hospitals and surgeries without seeming intrusive.

Keeping Britain Alive didn't just spend 24 hours in accident and emergency, it spend the day at locations throughout the NHS, from the Isle if Islay, which has just three doctors for a population of 3,000, to the very latest surgical expertise in the heart of London.

In one day 1.5 million people will be treated; 1,500 people will die and 2,000 babies will be born in the biggest healthcare system in the world. This programme reveals our love affair with the NHS and the wonderful people who struggle to stop it falling apart at the seams.

People like Dr Chris Able, one of the Isle of Islay GPs, who is acutely aware that if anything happens on the island – from babies being born to accidents and pensioners swallowing their false teeth – then he is the one they turn to.

After all, treatment is a plane ride and several hours away in Glasgow.

At the other end of the scale are people like Consultant neurosurgeon Andrew McEvoy, who performs brain surgery on cheery Welshman Daryl.

It's the return of Daryl's brain tumour and he explains how it's like a spider and very difficult to get at.

Daryl – who wants to live for his family – has to be conscious during the operation to ensure that not too much of his brain is taken, affecting speech.

It's amazing to watch and uplifting to read on the end credits that it's been a success.

And it's a similar case on 24 Hours in A&E where staff are treating a girl knocked unconscious in an unprovoked attack. Amazing... and not an actor in sight.

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