New RFDS TV Drama
Five years ago the journey began for a new TV drama that depicts the work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Once the agreement had been made with Endemol Shine Banks, they started an extensive research project to learn about the RFDS. We took them to bases and clinics, facilitated interviews with doctors, nurses, pilots and patients. This process took more than a year - with scripting thoroughly worked and reworked until we got the great news that Channel 7 was aboard for this flight. A committee was set up within the RFDS for advice to writers on aviation procedures/terminology, as well as medical and clinical processes and technical details. It is important to us that the story is true to what we do -- despite its fictional narrative.
As one of Australia’s oldest RFDS bases, the RFDS Broken Hill base was chosen as the location for filming due to its impressive red dirt landscapes, and the capacity to have filming set up alongside RFDS day-to-day operations without impacting delivery of primary health services and emergency medical retrievals. The RFDS staff and the Broken Hill community were heavily involved with the number of extras required on set. They embraced this opportunity and fulfilled responsibilities like true stars. The Broken Hill businesses also cannot be forgotten - many assisted in sourcing props for the set and keeping the cast and crew housed, fed and watered and entertained during their stay in town. Some 200 Endemol Shine crew and cast were involved in the filming, over 5 months and the majority based themselves in Broken Hill during this time.
We are thrilled with the talent, including Stephen Peacocke, Rob Collins, Emma Hamilton, Justine Clarke and Ash Ricardo. Actors were invited onto RFDS bases and given access to RFDS operational staff to learn about the real RFDS and become familiar with the roles they were playing. Their on-screen performances really communicate the passion they have for the RFDS.
Aptly titled 'RFDS', the new TV drama captures the beauty and brutality of Australia’s vast center, where the doctors and the nurses, pilots, and support staff of the Royal Flying Doctor Service negotiate the unique challenges of emergency rescues across some of the most inhospitable places in the country. It is also a story about community and people coming together to laugh, to cry and to triumph over adversity.
We hope that this series is loved by the public as much as we love it. Though it is a fictional piece about RFDS work – it is true to the passion, dedication and work that our RFDS staff do 24-7 around the country.
With the first season now completed, you can catch up on all of the episodes on Channel 7 and also available on-demand on 7Plus if you are based within Australia.