Another short thought on daytime TV today from me. I have been watching the BBC’s daytime soap Doctors for a while now. Now, it’s tough making a daytime soap, as its restricted on content and racy material even more-so than it’s evening soap counterparts, and the writing and acting talent isn’t really in the market for daytime output. But that notwithstanding, Doctors is pretty poor by anyone’s standards.
To sum up the premise, it is based on the day-to-day trials and tribulations of a group of GP’s running a health centre in the West Midlands, ranging from normal surgery where pensioners basically come in so that they have someone to talk at for five minutes about their cough, to hostage situations (I kid you not on the latter). As you can already tell the format flip-flops between two extremes of mundane and quirky, to all out drama, which is a bit off putting. After all one day the doctors might be dealing with a mother who is panicking, in an unnecessarily excessive way, about her child’s cough; whilst on another a group of Chechnyan rebels might break in and threaten the O.A.P’s - waiting for morning surgery - with a dirty bomb. This I suppose is necessary considering that a GPs surgery is never going to deal with all the sorts of exotic and eye-watering illnesses that we see on House or Casualty, so drama needs to be installed somewhere, but maybe they do go a bit too far sometimes.
Another problem with this programme is that it doesn’t really have a strong footing in reality. On a more satirical point you have to point out that the doctors on screen in Doctors, actually go beyond the call of duty and go to their patients homes without being told to. Now I rarely have seen GPs making housecall’s in my time, even when asked to, but to think that a doctor would try searching the whole town for someone who they believe to be at risk (also happens a few times on screen) is ludicrous and probably just wouldn’t happen. Maybe these fictional doctors are what the real versions should be like i.e. caring, attentive willing to go to great lengths for their patients health, but to be honest I haven’t seen it happen. On the other hand there are other times when the fictional docs are seen prattling round the surgery seemingly doing nothing, which makes me wonder shouldn’t these people be seeing patients, or are the sick folk happy to wait whilst the gang get up to all sort of camaraderie and high jinks in the staff room? I suspect not, I guess life isn’t perfect in cloud cuckoo land after all.
Another thing which is particularly annoying is the one-sided portrayal of teens. Now I for one – as a good few of you who read this stuff regularly might have guessed – I hate teens. In a lot of cases they’re arrogant, attention seeking, whiney selfish bastards (I should know as I was one not so long ago), but even I accept they aren’t all bad. Doctors on the other hand only seems to deal with the former stereotype. I don’t think I’ve seen one spotty adolescent on this farce, who wasn’t some kind of know-it-all screechy emo, or at least a sanctimonious angst filled prick, who seems more worried about the state of their hair then the fact they, or one of their relatives, has the ebola virus or something. Most of them also complain that no-one listens to them, which in some cases is true, but in most cases I can understand why; as they are painted as unsympathetic; hormone addled; dim-wits.
I guess the diagnosis (ha! See what I did there. I used a medical term… You see because it’s about Doctors… Oh forget it!) for doctors isn’t good. It’s disconnected from reality, slightly schizophrenic, and is kept on a bad diet of poorly written bilge. Still I am willing to watch it, perhaps as a guilty pleasure (well that and Hollyoaks), as it is quite amusing to watch, and for that it deserves some credit.