Review: BBC's Hospital will have you crying in despair and screaming with rage

Most days, the biggest decision I have to make is what to have for tea, and after watching Hospital (BBC2, Tues, 9pm), I’m grateful my choices don’t get any more life and death than fish fingers or chicken dippers.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 5:00 pm

Filmed at the hospital in Coventry where the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine was delivered to a member of the public, this was raw, uncompromising television.

Presented as a series of literal life and death dilemmas, it was shocking to see the widespread toll of coronavirus on our hospital system, as the need to staff and equip Covid wards means operations are cancelled, and patients are left in physical pain and mental anguish.

Cardiac surgeon Tom Barker for instance, must choose between Drew – who will die in a day from liver failure if an abnormality in his heart isn’t corrected – and Brian, who will die in a little more than a day if his heart isn’t operated on.

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Tom Barker, consultant cardiac surgeon, University Hospital Coventry

Then there’s poor Nasreen, left in constant pain from a dislocated hip, whose operation is cancelled as they have no ITU beds.

Meanwhile, on the Covid wards, the doctors and nurses find that even a decision about who gets treated or not is moot, when they have no treatment to offer at all, and must watch patients die.

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Having watched Hospital, I would gladly pay an NHS tax if it meant making those decisions even a little easier. Unfortunately, I don’t think the powers-that-be will watch it, and the NHS will struggle on against the tide.

Motherland (BBC2, Mon, 9pm) is as funny as ever, but this series, as Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) copes with having her mother at home, looks like it could as easily tip over into the blackest comedy.

In a fantastic double bill, Inside No.9 (BBC2, Mon, 9.30pm) followed immediately after, and although Wuthering Heist seemed a little tricksy, it still had more invention and energy than most other shows.