Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Lights, camera, Bristol Stool Chart...


Beyond the Bedpan had always felt that the portrayal of nurses on television was a bit hit and miss to say the least. If it’s not images of saucy nurses romping about with the doctors then it’s subservient, silent handmaidens.

So you’ll have to forgive us for being a bit sceptical when we tuned in to watch “Getting On”.

Beyond the Bedpan missed the first run of it when it was shown on BBC4 last year. In fact, to be honest, we didn’t even know there was a BBC 4. But luckily for us it’s being shown again on a “proper” channel.

The programme is set in Ward B4, “a world of slips, trips and hips, where healthcare is at its least glamorous”. Too right, the first 10 minutes involve the Bristol Stool Chart and last offices - comedy gold.  Grey’s Anatomy this is not.

Beyond the Bedpan certainly laughed a lot, but then we started to wonder – does this go too far the other way? Far from sexualising nurses it shows them in the cold light of day. Would potential nurses be put off from entering the profession?

And, comedy one liners aside, is it any more realistic than the dizzy heights of Holby City? Should it be? Do programme makers have a responsibility to portray nursing accurately? Or should they concentrate on entertainment and let nurses’ work speak for itself?


Ward B4 is a world of slips, trips and hips, where health care is at its least glamorous.


Readers' comments (13)

  • The problem is Nurses work does not speak for itself does it? The general public have very little idea of the current Nursing role beyond what they see on TV.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Oh dear, I watched the doesn't really present nursing in the best light does it, the thinking evidence based nurse able to multi- task, more a 'do as I say' mode. That said the researcher was excuse the pun a bit anal - 31 types on a stool chart that really is too mayn, who would have time to catalogue that correctly, that research is a bit OTT.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I can't understand why some people get upset about how nursing is portrayed in the field of entertainment, the clue is in the word 'entertainment'; how entertaining would it be if a TV program or film were made showing it as it is? The answer, not at all. Documentaries are to inform, the likes of the program mentioned above are to entertain, in the same way as the Thin Blue Line or the Simpsons are made to entertain. Do people because of the Thin Blue Line, think that all policemen are bumbling idiots or does watcing the Simpsons convince people all husbands an fathers are like Homer? Of course not! Credit people with a bit more intellegence and get over yourselves.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I watched this first time round and just had to watch it again - it's hilarious - "The Office" for the NHS. As with all comedy it is the extremes of ordinary life - who hasn't met a doctor so concerned with their latest research/publication that they lose all common sense. And the cake incident was just comic class! If we want a true life representation of ward life we watch the fly on the wall documentary, or just turn up for work!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • For goodness sake - lighten up; it's not meant to be real it's meant to be funny. Its a comedy not a documentary. Just as Yorkshire is not full of old men going down hills in baths as in Last of the Summer Wine or Basil Fawlty is a true representative of Hoteliers in Torquay (then again having stopped in Torquay...)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • When is it coming Downunder?
    It looks brilliant, and lets face it, we always need a good giggle....even if it is another skit at what?
    Comedy covers whatever, whoever wherever, whenever, however!
    Its good for the soul!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Yvonne, it really is brilliant and Jo Brand is spot on funny in it! It does actually take the piss across the board, from HCA's through to consultant level. The woman who plays the Matron has it bang on!

    To most of the other posters, I understand the need for entertainment and I can write them off as exactly that, the same way the Ann Summers uniforms or the sexy Nurse image on the back of that bus a while back didn't bother me.

    However, I would argue that the profession is in dire need of more realistic and clearer public perception of us.

    We are at a time now where the profession will need to stand up and be counted, to fight for our own profession in the face of cuts and downgradings, it does not do us any favours at all that a large part of the public see us as nothing more than bedmakers and Doctors assistants, (Doctors included!) why should we get a wage increase for example when any no qualification school leaver can wipe a bum or make a bed (because that is all we do after all)? Why should we be able to demand a certain course of treatment for our patients when the Doctor obviously knows best and sends you on your way with a pat on the head? I mean, according to public perception we don't need any education to do what we do, do we?

    More importantly, why would a patient come to a Nurse led clinic or similar for help or advice when in their perception there is no way we can offer them what they need (when in reality we are perhaps the best people to help them), so off they pop to their GP as usual.

    Yes there is room for entertainment, and yes I hope Jo Brand makes more of these programmes, but I also think that there should be a lot more realistic and positive roles for Nurses within these programmes (soaps and Casualty in particular) for example, as these programmes DO affect public opinion. There is room for both.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Honestly members of the public are not that dim to believe that the way nurses are shown on television is 100% accurate after all it is members of the public who are being looked after by nurses everyday. I am a nurse and I enjoyed the clip I have also been a patient and as a patient the last thing you are going to be thinking about is the way nurses are portrayed on television, if there is a need to show nurses in their proper role then someone can make a proper documentary but then again you have the issues of confidentiality etc.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have just watched the clip and enjoyed it. I will have to watch the whole thing now, it just made me laugh.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • if you laugh at it, laugh.

    if you are offended, change channel or turn TV off.


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs