First Aid (lost early BBC medical show; 1937)

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Listing of "Accidents in the Home" in Radio Times.

Status: Lost

First Aid is an early BBC television medical documentary series. Consisting of at least three parts, it guided viewers on what to do when one encounters a minor or serious accident within the home, on the road, or while playing sports.


Working alongside St. John Ambulance Brigade, the show was conceptualized by World War 1 veteran and BBC Television Service producer and presenter, Cecil Lewis.[1] The premise involved providing practical demonstrations on how to cope with various accidents. At least three episodes are confirmed to have been produced, with each lasting fifteen minutes and being repeated once on the same day as the initial broadcast.[2]

"Accidents in the Home", broadcast on January 8th, 1937, guided viewers on coping with minor and serious accidents within their home. The initial broadcast was presented by Nigel Corbet Fletcher, a Surgeon-in-Chief at St. John Ambulance Brigade.[3] The later broadcast was presented by W. C. Bentall, an Assistant Surgeon-in-Chief at St. John Ambulance Brigade.[4][5] Whether or not the Bentall version repeated the demonstrations provided by Fletcher's, or guided viewers in resolving other home-orientated accidents, is unknown.

Each episode was broadcast on a fortnightly basis. Hence, episode 2, "Accidents on the Road" was broadcast on January 22nd, 1937. This episode detailed what to do in when involved in various road accident scenarios. Based on the fact that the second listed broadcast at 21:10 was simply titled "Details as at 3:10", it can be assumed similar demonstrations were conducted, this time hosted entirely by Bentall.[6] Finally, episode 3, "Accidents in Sports", was broadcast on 5th February 1937. Both instances of the episode were hosted by Fletcher and concerned resolving sports-related accidents.[7]

According to the synopsis for "Accidents in the Home", two other demonstrations were to be planned. Among these included resolving accidents within workshops and factories, and a finale focusing on precautions homeowners should take when air raids involving gas attacks commence. However, these episodes were not documented in any currently available Radio Times listing.


Like other early BBC television broadcasts, First Aid was broadcast live and was not recorded. Therefore, all episodes of the show are now permanently missing. No photos exist of the show, with the Radio Times listings providing the only remnants of the show's existence.

See Also

Early BBC Television

Early BBC Sports Television


External Link