How do you fake a medical drama?

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1. Since the beginning

Casualty is celebrating 30 years of ground-breaking medical drama, and I've been lucky enough to have been involved since the start.

As series medical advisor on the show, there's a huge amount of planning involved – from helping to create believable storylines to making sure the medical procedures are done correctly.

So if you've ever wondered how we get blood to spurt from a wound, or keep those heart monitors beeping accurately, then here are some of the behind the scenes secrets of Casualty.

2. Getting it right

My job covers almost every aspect of the show, including liaising with scriptwriters, producers, medical experts and directors. Sometimes a great idea on paper just isn't feasible from a medical perspective.

As hospitals, technology and medical practices have evolved, so has the show – from nurse and ambulance crew uniforms to the latest life-saving equipment you see on your TV.

As well as spending time in real hospitals, new cast members are trained by me to do basic medical procedures such as suturing, holding and manipulating instruments, putting stethoscopes in ears and handling needles so they don't shoot drugs into the air.

3. Paramedics

Clive Haddrell, a paramedic advisor on the show for thirty years, has noticed significant changes too, from the way paramedics are now perceived to the training they receive.

Paramedics are now educated to degree level and have to complete a paramedics degree in order to qualify for the frontline.

Modern ambulances have completely transformed the types of treatment people receive too with ECG monitors, defibrillators and a wider variety of drugs all on board.

High-tech telemetry devices and hand-held tablet devices also allow them to share patient's vital signs with hospitals.

Built in hydraulic lifts now help transfer patients, and rapid response vehicles including helicopters, cars and motorbikes can reach incidents quickly.

4. Blood and guts

Casualty's series make-up designer, Kirstie Stanway, reveals the secrets behind the blood, gore and prosthetics featured in the series.

5. Casualty uncovered

Bandage the gaps in your knowledge with five facts you might not know about the series.

  1. The only original cast member is Derek Thompson, who plays nurse Charlie Fairhead and starred in the very first episode back in 1986.
  2. Charlie Fairhead's character was based on a young charge nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary called Pete Salt, who you might recognise...
  3. The colour red is never seen in the production, with the exceptions of blood, Remembrance Day poppies and the occasional fire engine.
  4. Casualty uses around two pints of fake blood per episode, and some of it is edible. Flavours include mint choc chip and blueberry.
  5. The production prides itself on its authenticity. A director once threw a tramp off set only to discover he was one of the cast.

6. Propping it up

Former firefighter, police officer and ambulance driver Dick Jones is in charge of the show's medical props. Take a peek into his wacky world to find out how medical props are faked and where all the blood spurting comes from.

Dick Jones reveals the skeletons in his closet.

A lot of the shows medical props are donated from former hospitals. Others have to be bought in, and many are made on site for specific episodes.