‘Bullet dodged’ on 999 TV show follow up

Plans to air another 999-style documentary in Blackpool has been shelved.
Plans to air another 999-style documentary in Blackpool has been shelved.
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Blackpool has “dodged a bullet” after plans to air another 999-style documentary series around the A&E dramas “erupting” in the resort were shelved.

But business and community leaders’ relief may be short lived as the production company behind the programme – called Holiday Hospital 999 – said the project was only “on hold”.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Talks on the production may resume in the near future, and Crackit Productions told The Gazette more information would be released once the project was “moving again”.

The news comes less than a year after the 999: What’s Your Emergency? series hit TV screens, leaving what tourism bosses have described as a “damaging effect” on the resort.

Crackit productions were not involved in the original 999 show which followed the town’s police and ambulance crews.

Critics said it showed an unfairly edited view of the resort, highlighting issues which every large town in the UK faced.

999: What's your emergency?

999: What's your emergency?

The new TV project, still described as “in development” on Crackit’s website, is described as a “documentary series following the unique A&E drama that erupts in Britain’s busiest holiday destination as tourists roll in to celebrate the simmer season”.

It promises “unique hospital and supporting emergency services access”.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital, North West Ambulance Service and Blackpool RNLI have all confirmed they were approached by the company.

The Vic allowed film crews in for preliminary interviews.

Those interviews were used to form a pilot episode.

Since then, talks have been stopped.

A spokeswoman for Marketing Blackpool, which leads on all filming requests for the resort, said: “We made it very clear we would not support Holiday Hospital 999 as it would do nothing to promote Blackpool to either holidaymakers, potential investors or residents.

“Crackit still went ahead and filmed a pilot episode and this confirmed our fears this programme would be negative.”

After news the programme was on hold the spokeswoman added: “We hope this will go some way to putting a stop to this type of documentary series which seem intent on ruining Blackpool’s reputation both as the UK’s favourite seaside resort and as a great place to live and work.”

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “At the moment we have no plans to take part in a series called Holiday Hospital.”

She added: “They have done some filming with staff but we have no plans to work with them at the current time. The filming is carried out as part of these discussions to see what type of filming they want, and that both we and they would be happy with it.”

A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service added: “We are not involved in talks about this programme. We know there have been talks, and we were approached, but there are no plans to get involved at this moment.”

If the programme does eventually get the go ahead, the plan is to air it as part of the BBC’s daytime schedule.

A spokeswoman for the corporation said the talks were in very early stages.

She added: “As far as we know we are still in talks with Crackit over Holiday Hospital, but we are not sure it has been commissioned yet.”

A spokesman for the RNLI said: “We were approached by Crackit Productions about three months ago, but it was one we declined to be involved.”

Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said Blackpool was coming across as an easy target.

She said: “It’s really good news we are not allowing these types of programmes to be filmed here. This certainly is a bullet dodged.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, that horrific programme 999:What’s Your Emergency? has most definitely damaged the town as a tourist destination, and it makes me very cross that TV producers wants to do this to us, just because we are easy pickings.”

Talbot PACT chairman David Blacker warned there was a danger with allowing documentary makers into the town.

He said: “They are looking for the dramatics, which is always concerning. This programme would be a form of entertainment, focussing on anything amusing and shocking.”

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