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Green Wing

Comedy about the childish and slightly mad staff working in a hospital. Stars include Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan and Mark Heap

Genre:
Sitcom
Broadcast:
2004 - 2007  (Channel 4)
Episodes:
18 (2 series)
Starring:
Tamsin Greig, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Stephen Mangan, Mark Heap, Pippa Haywood, Michelle Gomez, Karl Theobald, Olivia Colman, Oliver Chris, Sarah Alexander, Lucinda Raikes
Writers:
Victoria Pile, Robert Harley, James Henry, Stuart Kenworthy, Oriane Messina, Fay Rusling, Richard Preddy, Gary Howe
Production:
Talkback Productions

Green Wing follows the lives of the staff of the East Hampton Hospital Trust. However, what we see is very little in the way of medical treatment and a lot of silliness.

The series begins with the arrival of new surgical registrar Dr Caroline Todd (Tamsin Greig), a woman who seems to manage to constantly put herself in the most embarrassing situations. During her time in the hospital she begins to form friendships with her two co-workers: half-Swiss, womanising anaesthetist Dr Guy Secretan (Stephen Mangan), and cool surgeon Dr 'Mac' Macartney (Julian Rhind-Tutt). It is not long before these friendships become stronger, but who will end up dating whom?

Elsewhere, there is Dr Martin Dear (Karl Theobald) a well-meaning house officer who is constantly failing his exams and is bullied by Guy. Then there's senior paediatric registrar Dr Angela Hunter (Sarah Alexander), a woman that Caroline finds almost perfect and very irritating. Also working in the hospital is Sue White (Michelle Gomez), a seemingly sociopathic (some would say psychopathic) Scottish staff liaison officer who likes nothing more than annoying other people and trying to win Mac's love, although he is not interested.

One of the most popular characters is consultant radiologist Dr Alan Statham (Mark Heap), a pompous and kinky man in love with the hospital's head of human resources Joanna Clore (Pippa Haywood). The two try and keep their relationship a secret, but it is known all over East Hampton, especially by junior house officer Boyce (Oliver Chris) who tries to use it to his advantage.

Joanna's own HR staff are not much help. Harriet Schulenburg (Olivia Colman) is overworked and trapped in a loveless marriage with too many kids to cope with; Karen Ball (Lucinda Raikes) does most of the actual work while trying to pull Martin; Kim Alabaster (Sally Bretton) suffers from a bad attitude problem; and as for Naughty Rachel (Katie Lyons)... well the clue is in the name!

Our Review: Green Wing is one of our all-time favourite comedies. There is some debate about whether it is technically a sitcom, a comedy drama or a sketch show... so we'll just call it "a comedy". It definitely fits that tag, as it is very funny indeed!

Green Wing was certainly very innovative. For example, footage would often be sped-up or slowed down - something which provides for interesting visuals and helps setup scenes in a way other programmes can't (e.g. we can see someone dancing down a corridor without using up much time), although this style of filming admittedly is not to everyone's taste.

The very surreal humour is certainly a selling point of the show (Heap and Gomez especially), and the soap-like plots do a great job of pulling in the viewer. Will Caroline fall for Guy or Mac? Will Statham and Joanna ever have a happy love-life? How on Earth does Sue White keep her job?

It has to be conceded that near the end some viewers lost interest, and many were not happy with the final special episode, but overall this is a brilliant show that you can watch again and again.

Sadly, Green Wing is no more, and the team behind it later fired an unexpected miss with a similar sitcom set in a university. A pilot of Campus was shown in 2009, with a full series broadcast in 2011 - we didn't think it too bad, but it wasn't well received by critics and failed to gain the instant audience Channel 4 hoped.