(Archive diary entry from 2010 with some updates.)
One Night In Emergency was shot in 2010 and with a cast including Kevin McKidd, Euan Bremnar, James Cosmo, Gary Lewis and my old River City buddy Tam Dean Burn + etc etc etc; it was a veritable who’s who of Scottish talent and a really pretty wonderful piece of film making..
Plot: One Night In Emergency marks the television debut of critically-acclaimed playwright, Gregory Burke. Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey and Gregory’s own experiences, this drama charts one man’s journey through the wards of an overrun, inner-city hospital. Peter and Penny are an ordinary middle class couple but when Penny is admitted to Accident & Emergency with what appears to be a minor complaint, their world is turned upside down. Peter is slow to leave work and arrives at the hospital late. It’s a busy night, and the emergency department is full. Frustrated by the lack of help he receives, Peter decides to wander the corridors in search of his wife. As he ventures deep into the labyrinthine building, diverted by a series of strange encounters. Over 24 hours, he is drawn into a surreal parallel world. Will he escape in time to see the woman he loves and atone for past mistakes?
This one hour BBC drama was directed by the terrific Michael Offer who really stood out for me as a director. I now know that he was at the same time also working on Lie To Me in the US and had shot several episodes of The Unit, an all action US TV series which I have a soft spot for.
From a fight perspective I just thought that it was good to have a director who’s thought ahead and Michael certainly did that. He understood the necessity of a fight director, and of the inclusion of safety apparatus, and didn’t ask for anything ludicrous as some directors do. Michael is also a director who really knows his craft and had a great rapport with his cinematographer who spoke the same language and often went along with Michael’s suggestions on lens sizes etc. Working again with Kevin McKidd was a pleasure. I’ve known Kevin since college and he is a terrific actor. I will post a piece in regard to the first film project I did with him at some point and if I can locate it will also post a link to fight rehearsal footage from “16 Years of Alcohol”.
I worked for the first time with Euan Bremner on this. He is a great character and incredibly vibrant and watchable on screen. When chatting about Black Hawk Down on which he hadn’t had an overly fun time, it was fascinating at the same time to hear a perspective on a movie I very much love from someone who’d been on the ground when it was made. In One Night In Emergency Euan and Gary Lewis were in a scene suggesting the burning out of the one good eye of a security guard with a cigarette. This was the first time I had seen an electric Cigarette appear on a film set. (In Scotland smoking is not permitted indoors at all and the law has made no provision for film and television exemptions) The electronic cigarette was used for some shots and the one shown in the image at the top of this article was used but never went anywhere near the eye. That cigarette was actually much further away than actually appears in the image. How could we use a cigarette when the law in all its red tape and stupidity has not made exception? Well smoke and mirrors and a little bit of magic, go a long way when producing drama. I leave you to figure that out for yourselves.
Working with brilliant people is what I now realise makes film making a pleasant, fruitful and engaging experience. I can’t find a link to purchase or watch One Night In Emergency, but if its ever repeated, take an hour to check it out.