This film is part of Free

Modern Day Nightingales

Gripping glimpses of modern nursing - on the frontline at Guy’s Hospital.

School programme and Educational film 1978 5 mins


Trebly fascinating, this film gives us gripping real-life hospital scenes, a palpable sense of the shifting focus of modern nursing – and a rare glimpse of how Britain and its health services were extolled abroad. Shot at Guys Hospital, it would not have been seen by British viewers at the time: it was made as part of long-running magazine series London Line, commissioned by the British government for distribution to TV stations in various countries, particularly former British colonies in Africa. Innovations in Britain’s NHS were one among the many aspects of British life that it covered.

The on-screen reporter is Nigerian-born Jumoke Debayo, a frequent presenter on London Line and a regular character actress in British TV (including Grange Hill and Plays for Today) – and the politically satirical feature film The National Health (1973). Though not working on a high budget, the London Line filmmakers here make fine use of a highly mobile 16mm camera, often capturing live sound, to give the programme a real immediacy and viewers the sense of being on the clinical front line.