Naked Apes

Channel 4 has commissioned two new drama series for 2011, as part of the broadcaster’s commitment to double its output of original drama from next year.

Camilla Campbell, Channel 4 head of drama, said the series had been commissioned using money freed up from the cancellation of Big Brother, which has seen the drama department benefit from a £20 million boost to its budget.

The new series announced today are Naked Apes, which will air on Channel 4, and Beaver Falls, for E4.

Naked Apes is penned by Brian Fillis, who wrote Fear of Fanny and The Curse of Steptoe for BBC Four, and is inspired by Tom Reynolds’ book, Blood, Sweat and Tea.

It follows a group of paramedics and is being made by Daybreak Pictures, which produced Britz for Channel 4.


I had lunch with one of the producers earlier this week where he told me that the chances of this actually making this to screen are pretty good. Although, as in all things TV, there is also a chance that it will all fall through.

At some point in the near future I'll be having a meeting with the writer and producers.

I haven't seen the script yet, although it is a *drama* based on my book rather than a literal filming of the episodes. TV, and drama as a whole, works in it's own way so there have got to be a lot of changes in order to turn the book into interesting television. Also it has to be something that will be interesting to the Channel 4 demographic.

So I'm not going to be precious about it.

This is now Daybreak Pictures baby and I'm interested in what they are going to do with the source material. It should be fun.

20 thoughts on “Naked Apes”

  1. To quote from the Guardian 'Naked Apes, made by David Aukin's Daybreak Pictures, is set in Leeds and explores the world of three blokeish paramedics in the ambulance service as they ferry alcoholics and revellers to a hospital's accident and emergency department.'It'll be interesting how they can take such a subject and make it into a series of varied episodes. In any case, if the incidents are related verbatim, they would probably be dismissed as ridiculous. People don't realise real life is a lot crazier than any scriptwriter can make it.

  2. Excellent news! I will keep my fingers crossed for you, as it'd be brilliant exposure, both for you and hopefully for the realities of the service as a whole, and might even make people think twice before hitting the 9s! But that's probably just wishful thinking!It's excellent that they want some input from you, and hopefully you can try and convince them to include some realism!

  3. Maybe they will learn from you and adopt the motto – “Trying to kill as little reality as possible. . .”

  4. Medical drama, always a winner. And I think all the other major healthcare bases are covered – we've got Casualty (A&E), Holby City (general hospital), Doctors (GPs). Scrubs is good for a giggle but from reading your blog for however many years it's been, you need ambulance folk for the real black humour.Best of luck, hope it goes well, and arrange for someone to tie you down when you realise that 9 out of 10 of their patients “come back” after defibrillation.

  5. Speaking as someone who “allocates” ambulances etc to these calls, if the producers are to make the programme as realistic as possible they need to include things which happen on a day to day basis. Then see if the public find “Real Life” believable.Ambulances expected to deal with: cardiac arrests with no working defib; diabetic emergencies with no BM kits; major trauma with no drugs stronger than Entonox; RTCs on A-roads and M-ways at night with no Hi-Vis jackets; attending dangerous areas with no stab vest or personal radios; the list goes on. And being told that they can “render aid” at a life threatening call with just a bag, valve and mask.

    Will they also show crews being cancelled down on a call to an elderly female on the floor with a possible fractured neck of femur, so that they can go to a 20 year old male with a “cough that hurts”, which our computer triage system turns into Chest Pain with Difficulty Breathing.

    Will it show a crew being suspended for a minor infraction of the rules where no-one had actually made a complaint?? Or a crew suspended because they had the temerity to defend themselves from an assault by a drunken, thuggish chav??

    I wonder………….

  6. Go on, you must be excited. I know I would be. You'll let us know when it's on? I hope that we can get it on-line off shore when it is.

  7. You may be pleasantly surprised…(I've not seen the scripts yet, but we have talked long and hard about exactly that sort of thing and I suspect that at least some of what you list will make it in – I'll certainly be fighting that corner).

  8. Congrats. Maybe you'll also get credited as a “consultant” for the show if they require any advice on procedure or realism. Neat stuff!

  9. All gone a bit quiet round here. I suspect Tom (Brian) is a bit 'busy' settling into his new (old) career. It's a year since I left the Ambulance Service. I left with a bank contract so that I could do the odd shift during the holidays to keep my hand in, and of course a fall back if the new job went tits up. The new job is safe, regular, badly paid and boring. I haven't been near an NHS taxi in the last year and I'm a much nicer person to know.Just got a letter from my ex boss telling me I've breached the terms of my bank contract by not doing any ambulance shifts for 12 months, so I either do some core update training and some front line shifts or I never darken his station door again.

    Well I wrote back and well and truly burned that particular bridge! I don't regret it. I could never face the thoughts of getting back into the uniform, on a van, going into dirty stinky houses and touching dirty, stinky flesh, narc-ing dirty stinky smack heads, poking dirty stinky drunks or squeezing grey, dead babies.

    But still, the end of a very significant era and I'm feeling a bit melancholy. Be careful out there you lot.

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