Sunday, 9 September 2012
I noticed while watching Parade's End this week that Benedict Cumberbatch was languishing in a Casualty Clearing Station in France that once again was entirely staffed by VADs. These particular young women appeared to be direct descendants of those who were so numerous in the CCSs of 'Testament of Youth' more than thirty years ago, in remarkably similar uniforms of the wrong colour, and completely unsupervised by anyone with a shred of nurse training. I realise that many people might think me nit-picking, pointing out that this is historical fiction and not 'real life,' but surely just occasionally a programme could manage to get the detail correct. I wonder why, when out country has such a long history of trained nurses for the Army, splendid in their scarlet capes and floating caps, it's only VADs, who never actually worked in Casualty Clearing Stations during the Great War, who are allowed to appear on our screens. Are the writers and producers so historically ignorant of Great War medical services? Do they ever do (or get done) any research at all on hospital life? The answer of course is 'yes' and 'no.' However serious the drama, however deep the plot, however grave the outcome, the on-screen portrayal of military nurses remains a joke.
Posted by Sue Light at 19:28