This is dramatization of the hospital records of the London Hospital (located in Whitechapel in the East End) focusing on the equivalent location as its modern counterpart (the Receiving Room, although we see wards too) save that all the cases and characters are historically accurate.
The show consists of a single episode (1906), a three part series (1907), and a six part series (1909)
This series provides examples of:
- Allergic to Love: Bedford Fenwick has a panic attack because he Cannot Spit It Out to Miss Luckes. The "love" part is not outright stated but implied by the sheer awkwardness of the scene.
- Bookends: Episode 5 of 1909 starts and ends with a "Scrub" mopping the floors.
- British Stuffiness: 1907 shows that Miss Luckes seems to be suffering as a result of this and being Married to the Job.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Probationer Veveers, who was the token South Asian.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Probationers wear lilac, nurses have pink and ward sisters wear blue.
- Custom Uniform: Matron
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted, in that CPR didn't exist back then. When a child's heart stops after a problem with the anaesthesia, Silvester's method (which involves moving the arms back and forth) is used instead. This method is now banned in the UK.
- Dangerous Workplace: A lot of the patients' injuries are caused by workplace accidents. As this is set in the pre-antibiotic era, the hospital itself is a dangerous place to work at — infection is a real risk, as is injury from handling still-imperfect medical technology such as crude x-ray machines.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Lampshaded by Dr. Ingrams after Culpin ropes him into anaesthetising a patient so they can treat her for the side-effects of an illegal abortion without alerting the police.Dr. Culpin: I'll buy you a pint tonight, two if you can bring her round.
Dr. Ingrams: That is not funny.
- Dumb Blonde: Probationer Chuck was replaced in 1909 by Nurse Ansett, the token blonde who couldn't do anything right for an episode, including thinking, in regards to Women's Suffrage, "Things work best when everyone knows their place."
- From Bad to Worse: The revelation of Everybody Knew Already that the viewers and most of the characters are in on Dr. Culpin is training Ethel to be a doctor leads to the audience learning the hospital's big Not Secret: They don't train female doctors because at some point in the past, Matron Luckes attempted to become a doctor and failed, and therefore propagates the view that "the profession is not suited to women".
- Heroic BSoD: Ada, when she loses her engagement ring in a vat of porridge.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Anna Baker, or at least it's heavily suggested that that is her line of work.
- Hospital Hottie: Despite the fact that the nurses' uniforms leave everything to the imagination. This was, of course, the norm for the time.
- Kick the Dog: Matron seems to enjoy sending Ethel away to private nursing way, way too much:
- Ethel: (reading her letter of introduction in abject horror)... Condition — piles.
Matron: Remember to warm your hands.
- Married to the Job: All the nurses are compelled to do this, to the point where they get the sack if they are found out to be married, although this was, for the most part, Truth in Television until The '60s. Ada seems to cope the worst with it.
- Moment Killer: Subverted: a "scrub" is seen at the end interrupting the kiss between Ethel and Dr. Culpin, although if anything this intensifies the moment rather than kills it.
- Mood Whiplash: The finale of 1909 has a serious case of this, although it's not entirely to its detriment.
- Must Have Caffeine: Ethel, studying into the wee small hours, stops for a moment and utters just one word:
- One of Our Own: Ethel contracts scarlet fever and is sent to isolation.
- Only Sane Employee: Miss Luckes somewhat, considering that she seems to spend most of her time attempting to steer the nurses, particularly Ada and Ethel, away from protocol-related disaster as well as nervous breakdowns and very little time on the wards. Truth in Television, Matron Luckes was a real person and in any case the Matron was more or less the manager of the hospital's medical staff at the time.
- Period Drama
- Politically Correct History: Completely averted. You've got plenty of racist views being expressed here.
- Professor Guinea Pig: Anton Lesser's psychiatrist character asks someone to perform an operation on him in order to experience the emotions the patients go through prior to operations. He also cuts a nerve in his arm, believing that it may never reconnect, only to find that it does regrow.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: All the male medics. Mr. (Hurry) Fenwick is probably the best example of the trope, whereas Dr. Culpin is closest to the real thing.
- Secret Relationship: Ethel and Dr. Culpin. But as is the want of said Secret Relationship, it doesn't stay that way for long, although no one besides the couple conclusively knows the full extent of the relationship
- Ship Tease: The very tail end (before the factoids) of the season finale of 1909. They even use the same background music from the kiss in the previous episode.
- Show Within a Show: The Merry Peasant — a light opera, back in the days when "light opera" really did mean "light opera".
- Unequal Pairing: Ethel and Dr. Culpin. It starts out unequal but eventually segues into a slightly more equal Teacher/Student Romance.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: This is the East End of London of the 1900s, which had a very considerable Eastern European Jewish population.