Emergency – Ward 10

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Emergency – Ward 10
Also known as Calling Nurse Roberts
Genre Soap opera
Created by Tessa Diamond
Ending theme Silks and Satins
Composer(s) Peter Yorke
Country of origin UK
No. of episodes 1016
Running time 30 mins
Production company(s) ATV
Original channel ITV
Original run 19 February 1957 – 27 June 1967

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


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. Although somewhat cosily genteel by modern standards, Emergency – Ward 10 was the first hospital-based television drama to establish a successful format combining medical matters with storylines centring around the personal lives of the doctors and nurses. To this end, the series was also British TV's first soap set in the workplace.

Emergency – Ward 10 attracted controversy for its portrayal of an interracial relationship between surgeon Louise Mahler (played by Joan Hooley) and Doctor Giles Farmer (played by John White[1]), showing the first kiss on television between black and white actors in July 1964, some four years before Star Trek '​s more famous Kirk/Uhura kiss in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren".[2]

Emergency – Ward 10 finally ended in 1967 when ratings began to slide 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.[citation needed]

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.

Cast list[3][edit]

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