(2009-) is a British sitcom
set in a hospital ward a million miles away from Princeton General
. Situated right at the wrong end of the Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty
, the series is centered on a general ward and the unglamorous lives of its long-suffering staff. The series is written by its three female leads: Jo Brand as Nurse Kim Wilde
, Joanna Scanlan as Sister Den Flixter, and Vicki Pepperdine as Dr Pippa Moore. The show is intended to be a realistic
portrayal of hospital life with naturalistic dialogue and shaky camera movements
. Its director Peter Capaldi may have learned a few tricks from his time working with Armando Iannucci
on The Thick of It
Kim has returned to nursing after some time away, and is struggling to cope with the changes the National Health Service
has been through in the meantime. New regulations stop her from providing good old-fashioned patient care and constantly throw up problems, not least of which is the oversensitive Matron Hilary Loftus.
- Accidental Misnaming: Damaris.
- Ambiguously Gay: Hilary Loftus with his "issues". He's not too sure about his sexual orientation himself.
- Dr Oxford, whose advances Pippa misinterprets as platonic. At the end of series 3, they're seen leaving together, headed for Dr Oxford's hot tub, and Pippa still hasn't twigged.
- Ascended Extra: Damaris.
- Black Comedy: Some of the blackest.
- Butt Monkey: In season 2, Beedie Fyvie's function seems to be this.
- Color Wash: Used to make the hospital setting look suitably bleak.
- The Danza: Director Peter Capaldi appears in some episodes as a psychiatrist called... Peter.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kim Wilde.
- Gender-Blender Name: Sister Den Flixter, and Matron Hilary Loftus who also has a Gender Blender Title.
- George Jetson Job Security: Pippa who is forced to reapply for her own job... and fails to get it.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Hilary.
- Hospital Hottie: Peter the psychiatrist, who is swooned over by the female staff, Pippa is something of an Abhorrent Admirer.
- Important Haircut: After her divorce is completed, Dr Moore turns up with rather glam extensions.
- Moment of Silence: When recurring character Mrs Fyvie dies.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Nurse Kim Wilde, who is somewhat less glamorous than her namesake. Apparently the non-nurse Kim Wilde approves.
- The Snark Knight: Kim, who is dryly sarcastic, but also very caring towards the patients.
- No Social Skills: Pippa, who seems unable to empathise with patients and staff alike. A performance review gives her an embarrassingly low score for communication skills:
"Well, it's only technically
a poor score..."
- Only Sane Man: Kim, who remembers the NHS before health and safety legislation made everyone's jobs so much more difficult.
- Put on a Bus: Damaris.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Roll River Roll by Richard Hawley.
- Shown Their Work: Jo Brand drew on her experience of working as a psychiatric nurse at London's Maudsley Hospital.
- Shout-Out: To Peep Show- The name Jizzcock Pisskidney is written on a notice board at the beginning of one episode.
- This Is What the Building Will Look Like: part of a running gag in series 2.
- The Voiceless: Josh for most of series 3 (he's finally heard in a non-plot-related scene in the final episode). Guest star Tilda Swinton's character in the final episode has no lines.