Emergency – Ward 10

Emergency – Ward 10 is a British medical soap opera series shown on ITV between 1957 and 1967. Like The Grove Family, a series shown by the BBC between 1954 and 1957, Emergency – Ward 10 is considered to be one of British television's first major soap operas.

Emergency – Ward 10
Also known asCalling Nurse Roberts
GenreSoap opera
Created byTessa Diamond[1]
Ending themeSilks and Satins
Composer(s)Peter Yorke
Country of originUK
No. of episodes1016
Running time30 mins
Production company(s)ATV
Original networkITV
Original release19 February 1957 
27 June 1967


The series was made by the ITV contractor ATV and set in a fictional hospital called Oxbridge General. Growing out of what was originally intended to be no more than a six-week serial (entitled Calling Nurse Roberts), the series became ITV's first twice-weekly evening soap opera. Emergency – Ward 10 was the first hospital-based television drama to establish a successful format combining medical matters with storylines centring on the personal lives of the doctors and nurses.

Emergency – Ward 10 attracted attention for its portrayal of an interracial relationship between surgeon Louise Mahler (played by Joan Hooley) and Doctor Giles Farmer (played by John White),[2] showing the second kiss on television between black and white actors in July 1964,[3] the first such kiss being in a Granada TV play You in Your Small Corner in 1962.[4][5][6] However, the producers wrote Mahler out shortly afterwards by sending her to Africa, where she succumbed to snake bite.

When ratings began to slide it was decided to convert the programme from a soap to a one-hour drama for Saturday nights, produced by Jo Douglas. It didn't work. Emergency – Ward 10 ended in 1967 after the show had been on air for ten years. ATV executive Lew Grade later admitted that cancelling the series was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made in his career.[7]

The formula was subsequently revived with the (originally) afternoon series General Hospital (no connection with the American daytime soap General Hospital) which was broadcast between 1972 and 1979.

Australia's Charles "Bud" Tingwell starred in the series as surgeon Alan "Digger" Dawson, enjoying a heart-throb status because of his role.

Its haunting closing theme tune was "Silks and Satins" by Peter Yorke.


In March 2008, Network released a DVD set containing the 24 earliest surviving episodes which date from 1959 and 1960. A second 24-episode volume was released in July 2008, while a third 24-episode set was released in 2010. A 1966 episode was included on Network's Soap Box Volume One DVD as was the sole-surviving episode of spin-off Call Oxbridge 2000.

Main cast

  • Jill Browne as Nurse Carole Young, Staff Nurse
  • Rosemary Miller as Nurse Pat Roberts, Staff Nurse
  • Charles Tingwell as Doctor Alan Dawson, Senior House Officer
  • Frederick Bartman as Doctor Simon Forrester, Senior House Officer
  • Pamela Duncan as Sister Doughty, Charge Sister
  • Desmond Carrington as Doctor Chris Anderson, Consultant in Emergency Medicine
  • John Carlisle as Mr Lester Large, Consultant General Surgeon
  • Peter Howell as Doctor Peter Harrison, Pre-registration house officer
  • Anne Lloyd as Nurse Pat Roberts, Staff Nurse
  • Glyn Owen as Doctor Patrick O'Meara, Medical Registrar in Cardiology
  • Tricia Money as Nurse Michaela Davies, Senior Staff Nurse
  • John White as Doctor Giles Farmer
  • Paula Byrne as Nurse Frances Whitney, State Enrolled Nurse
  • Kerry Marsh as Nurse O'Keefe, Student Nurse
  • Richard Thorp as Doctor John Rennie, Consultant in Emergency Medicine
  • Barbara Clegg as Nurse Jo Buckley, Staff Nurse
  • Iris Russell as Matron Mary Stevenson, Senior Ward Sister/Hospital Matron
  • Pik-Sen Lim as Nurse Kwei-Kim Yen, Staff Nurse
  • Dorothy Smith as Sister McNab
  • John Barron as Harold de la Roux, Hospital Trustee
  • Kathleen Byron as Margaret de la Roux, Hospital Trustee
  • Therese McMurray as Nurse Maureen Parkin, Staff Nurse
  • William Wilde as Doctor Brooke, Locum Medical Registrar in General Surgery
  • Jane Rossington as Nurse Katherine Ford, Senior Consultant Nurse in General Surgery
  • Joan Matheson as Sister Rhys

See also


  1. Fiddy, Dick (27 November 2015). "Hazel Adair: Prolific writer on Emergency – Ward 10 and co-creator of Crossroads". The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  2. "John White". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  3. "Emergency Ward 10". Television Heaven. Archived from the original on 16 February 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  4. "BFI discovers world's first interracial TV kiss". Film News. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  5. "First interracial kiss on British TV rediscovered". BBC News. BBC. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  6. "TV archive discovers couple who beat Kirk and Uhura to first interracial kiss". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  7. "Emergency-Ward 10". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
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