BBC2 documentary, Great Ormond Street

Nagarajan Muthialu Consultant Paediatric Surgeon
Great Ormond Street was a BBC2 documentary series, with remarkable access to clinical teams at the hospital, featuring some of their most difficult and complex cases. 

Filmed over the course of a year, the series marked the second time production company Films of Record had gained this unique level of access to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Read an interview with series producer and director, Simon Gilchrist, on how he and his team went about making each episode.

Why we let the cameras in

Jo Barber, Senior Press Officer at Great Ormond Street Hospital, explains how the decision was made to allow the second series to happen:

"We already had a good working relationship with Films of Record who made the first series of Great Ormond Street and were commissioned by the BBC to make the second.

"We trust the way they work and they were able to work to our requirements, for example a family being able to change their mind about being filmed at any time.

"Families are not approached to take part directly, but are asked via a clinical team. We also ensured film crew staff went through the same hospital pre-employment processes as our clinical staff, including occupational health and security checks.

"It is important to show the general public what the hospital does. Recurring comments of series one focused on how honest they found the programmes. Also, many people didn’t know that groups of clinical staff from different departments got together to discuss patients and potential treatments."

Dr Olga Slater Dr Penelope Brock and Dr Antony Michalski
Doctors Olga Slater, Peppy Brock and Antony Michalski, featured in A Difficult Line

Episode guide

There were six episodes in the series with each giving a different insight into the difficult ethics underlying daily decisions in the hospital.

The programmes highlight some of the hospital’s most challenging and complex cases and can be very difficult and sometimes upsetting to watch. 

A Difficult Line

'A Difficult Line' observed doctors and parents grappling with the dilemma faced when a treatment for cancer in children can have a detrimental impact on the child's health.

Read an interview with Antony Michalski, one of the consultants from this episode.

Read our interview with paediatric oncologist Peppy Brock.

A Chance at Life

'A Chance at Life' followed experienced surgeon Mr Edward Kiely and his colleagues as they conducted what many perceive as impossible surgical procedures with little precedent and no guarantee of long-term success.

Read our interview with surgeons Ed Kiely and Joe Curry.

Buying Time

'Buying Time' portrayed the cardiothoracic transplant team as they deal with the difficult decisions surrounding transplantation.

Read an interview with Matthew Fenton, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist.

Read the stories of Holly and Ellie who both spent months on a Berlin Heart before undergoing a heart transplant at GOSH.

A Delicate Balance

'A Delicate Balance' looked at the intensive care and respiratory teams as they question when it is no longer right to continue treating patients.

Read an interview with Colin Wallis, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine.

Franceska has been in and out of hospital since birth. Read her story as told by mum Ceri

Decisions for Life

'Decisions for Life' looked at the advanced surgical techniques used at the hospital which mean many more babies are surviving cardiac surgery.
Read an interview with Victor Tsang, Paediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

Experimental Surgery

'Experimental Surgery' looked at how new procedures are put into practice by the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital.