United Kingdom

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews BBC 2's Hospital and The Money Maker on Channel 4

Hospital

Rating:

There goes the no-claims bonus. As Covid patient David was wheeled off to intensive care in Hospital (BBC2), a cheery nurse joked his bed was being steered by women drivers.

Moments later, they bumped into the door. Who left that there?

It was a moment of rare levity as this observational documentary returned, charting the pressures on University Hospital Coventry's wards during lockdown this year, where surgeons were restricted to just two major operations a day.

That meant impossible decisions for staff, who had to choose which patients could not be saved. 

One administrator was filmed as he tried to book the last remaining heart op for the following day.

There goes the no-claims bonus. As Covid patient David was wheeled off to intensive care in Hospital (BBC2), a cheery nurse joked his bed was being steered by women drivers, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Two patients needed life-saving surgery. They had equal priority. Who lived and who died, he said, depended on which one picked up the phone first. 

In case that seemed an exaggeration, we saw him call a patient's mobile — and, when there was no response within ten rings, put down the receiver and dial the other number.

This time, he got an answer. 

It was like a radio contest on a classic hits station, the ones where you have to pick up the phone and greet Tony Blackburn with today's poptastic catchphrase to win a holiday. 

In this case, the prize was a chance to live. 

It's beyond logical understanding that this brutal and callous situation goes almost unnoticed, in a country that was having collective hysterics last year about the shortage of beds for coronavirus patients.

Why do we gibber with panic about one disease, but take virtually no notice of others? 

Why do we gibber with panic about one disease, but take virtually no notice of others? Pictured: Tom Barker, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire was featured in the latest episode of BBC show Hospital 

This programme makes no attempt to answer such imponderables: it merely watches.

Sometimes watching is very hard. Dave, on the intensive care ward as his Covid symptoms steadily worsened, was placed in an induced coma. 

His family were unable to visit, yet the cameras continued to have access.

Of course, the film crew followed the strictest procedures to ensure they couldn't spread the virus. 

Probably the lenses were operated remotely. Still, it's uncanny to see a man dying when his wife and daughter can't be with him.

In his last hours, the regulations were relaxed and Dave's family were able to say goodbye. He was just 50. 

His fatal illness was contrasted with the infuriating reluctance of many Coventry medical staff to have the Covid jab. 

Rumours swirl on social media about blood clots and other side-effects, which seems proof of the toxic effect of Facebook or Twitter rather than vaccines.

Anyone hesitating to be inoculated should watch the footage of Dave dying in his ICU bed. Does that really look like a better bet?

The Money Maker

Rating:

Bakery boss Alex Jacobs had to pick his best bet on The Money Maker (C4) as smooth-talking investor Eric Collins from Alabama offered him £150,000 for a fat slice of his business.

Bakery boss Alex Jacobs had to pick his best bet on The Money Maker (C4) as smooth-talking investor Eric Collins from Alabama offered him £150,000 for a fat slice of his business

Eric wanted 40 per cent, which is more than one slice... it's almost half the loaf. With his restaurant trade wiped out during lockdown, Alex was desperate for cash. But not that desperate.

He wisely accepted a loan but rejected a partnership — and didn't appear too impressed with Eric's charm. The American, who speaks in the deep purr of a master villain, oozes a Stateside sincerity that tends to make Englishmen suspicious.

Eric didn't like being kept at arm's length. He bubbled with spite about Alex: 'He can tread water like a champion. I have rarely seen that kind of inertia.'

I've said before that I cannot grasp why hard-working small businesses allow TV tycoons to bite chunks off them. To see Eric turned to toast was a pleasure.

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