The Golden Hour
In autumn 2005, Richard Armitage starred as Dr Alec Track in the ITV drama The Golden Hour.
Track is the leader of a team of four doctors in a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. The title of the drama comes from the term used in emergency medicine to describe the first hour after an accident. Treatment given during this time massively increases the chance of survival of patients who've suffered extreme trauma.
The series is based on the work of the real HEMS team who operate from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. This team of doctors is flown straight to the scene of serious accidents to administer life-saving treatment before patients even reach hospital.
Unlike many medical dramas where the action builds towards the accident and then shows the treatment, each Golden Hour episode starts at the point of the accident. As the 'golden hour' ticks away, we not only see the team's attempts to save the injured, but also, in a series of flashbacks, how the people involved in the accident came to be there and how the accident happened.
The work of the team of doctors is necessarily stressful, but further tensions arise from their intertwined private lives. Richard Armitage's character, Alec, is secretly having an affair with Jane, with whom Paul is also in love. But Alec is dedicated to his work, leaving little time and energy for a personal life, so his relationship with Jane does not run smoothly. And Naz's marriage is breaking up under the strain of the job.
The actors trained with the real HEMS team in London, one of whom, Dr Gareth Davies, was a consultant for the series.
A single series of four 90 minute episodes was made. The innovative structure of the programme was praised by critics. But the quality of the scripts was felt by many to have let the show down, and it was not renewed.
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