Emergency (1959 TV series)

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This article is about the 1959 Australian television series. For the 1972 U.S. television series, see Emergency!
Genre Drama
Starring Brian James
Syd Conabere
Judith Godden
Natalie Raine
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 16
Location(s) Melbourne, Victoria
Running time 24-26 minutes
Production company(s) GTV 9
Original network Nine Network
Picture format Black & White
Audio format Mono
Original release 16 February – 1 June 1959

Emergency is an Australian television series produced by GTV-9 in 1959.

The series was set in the busy casualty department of a major Melbourne hospital, and is notable for being one of the first-ever dramas shown on Australian television.[1]

Made by Melbourne's GTV-9 in co-operation with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and based on Britain's "Emergency Ward 10", "Emergency" starred Brian James as Dr. Geoffrey Thompson, Syd Conabere as orderly George Rogers, and Judith Godden as Nurse Jill Adamson. Moira Carleton also featured as Matron Evans.

The series was produced primarily in the GTV-9 studio, with brief (usually pre-credit) exterior sequences shot on 35mm film by newsreel cameramen. The episodes were not broadcast live, but were "kinescoped" to meet programming requirements, and facilitate later screening in Sydney.

The series' premise was simple: a basic dramatic exploration of cases passing through the Casualty ward. Scripts were written by GTV staffers Roland Strong (series producer) and Denzil Howson (series director) under pseudonyms.

Sponsorship came from British Petroleum, and a contract was signed for 52 half-hour episodes. The series debuted on GTV-9 on 16 February 1959, and on Sydney's ATN-7 a week later. Critics initially appeared fairly neutral, however a highly negative article on the series in a Sydney newspaper caused BP to withdraw sponsorship 16 weeks into the series run. Faced with having to carry the production expenses alone, GTV-9 discontinued production, with the final episode airing in Melbourne on 1 June 1959.

Following the series demise, Brian James went on to lead roles in the ABC serial Stormy Petrel in 1960, and ATN-7's period drama Jonah in 1962, later appearing as George Tippit in the drama serial "Skyways" (1979–81).

Conabere and Carleton appeared in guest roles in most of the Australian TV dramas on the 1960s and 1970s.


  1. ^ Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 160-161

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