Cutting Edge Episode 2 'The Ambulance 8 Minutes To Disaster' On Channel 4 18th September at 9pm

The Ambulance: 8 Minutes to Disaster
Cutting Edge on Channel 4

This week Cutting Edge charts a month in the life of ambulance 212 and its crews as they attempt to comply with Government targets to reach 75% of life threatening calls within eight minutes. But how much of their work actually involves saving lives? And how much is tea and sympathy? This insightful documentary provides a fascinating view of modern British society and daily lives of the Paramedics on the front line of the NHS.

Cameras fixed in the ambulance, and shoulder cams for the crew, capture these committed men and women coping with everything from binge drinking and suicide attempts to repeat callers who just want a chat and a cup of tea.

Working 10 to 12 hour shifts, and averaging four shifts in eight days, the Ambulance Service of Reading Central deals with upwards of 300 calls a day. They never know entirely what situation they will face on their arrival – childbirth, domestic incidents, life-threatening situations – and making the right decision under extreme pressure is vital. However, almost half their calls are from elderly patients and, as paramedic Iain Darby points out, “Only about 30% is emergency stuff. The rest is social work”.

He and partner Stella have been working together for four years. Much of their time is taken up with ‘frequent callers’ who regularly contact them with non-emergencies, though they are obliged to attend. “It’s frustrating that ambulances keep going to the same people day after day when they know there’s nothing wrong with them,” says Mark Ainsworth, Head of Operations.

The calls increase dramatically at weekends, many are alcohol related. “Alcohol is a problem in every country…but it’s out of control here,” comments another paramedic Paul. “I find it amazing every weekend…we go to people who have beaten each other up…it’s a bit weird when you go to a job and you don’t have someone beating someone else up. That’s really sad isn’t it?”

As Paul and his partner attend yet another alcohol/drug related incident their manner is wholly professional, yet he is clearly frustrated. “It’s amazing how people cannot look after themselves and rely on the ambulance service to do it for them. Little old ladies will sit at home for hours and hours because they don’t want to bother us.”

But when they attend the scene of a five-year-old boy who has been seriously wounded in a car accident, and fight to keep him alive on route to the hospital, the crucial nature of their role and true extent of their skill is apparent. “This is what the ambulance is for,” says Paul before checking the radio to see what the next job has in store for them.

Assistant Director George Waldrum talks about what the film is about

A new series of Cutting Edge Films starts 9pm Thursday 11th September on Channel 4. The Ambulance: 8 Minutes to Disaster airs at 9pm on Thursday 18th September.

For further information please contact Richard Hill at Holler: / 0207 209 2691

About the author

Another week and another Red Bull Bedroom Jam, this time the live feed heads down to London, for the interestingly titled 'Why Whiskey Why?'

Why Whiskey Why? sound like the evil twins from The Shining with a sad guitar, a little like Coco Rosie, but less serious and ethereal and more like they're from below the Watford Gap. The duo, consisting of Josie and Sian, describe themselves as "two girls who can't play guitar, trying to make music." After a storming set at this year’s Underage Festival their pleasant guitar playing has completely thrown that description out of the window. We and their growing legion of fans like them and we think that they are destined to become embedded in your brain, or at least in a few playlists!

Check them out live on the latest Red Bull Bedroom Jam, Thursday 23rd October live @ 7pm only at

What is Red Bull Bedroom Jam?

Red Bull Bedroom Jam aims to give wiiings to new musical talent, of any genre, aged 19 years or younger. Every week the Red Bull Bedroom Jam panel of experts choose one band to be the focus of a LIVE webcast. Then, with the help of local young promoters, Red Bull produced marketing materials are distributed around the local area in order to raise awareness ready for show time!

How do artists or viewers get involved?
Artists and musicians can register and upload a music video or live performance at: Once moderated, the content appears in the ‘Watch and Rate” section of the website. Bands can then ask their mates and fans to watch the content and rate it. There is no registration process to rate tracks but there is an optional newsletter sign up so viewers can be alerted when bands are selected for LIVE performances.

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