The past few weeks I have been rewatching the medical drama ‘Always and Everyone’ which was first shown on television in 1999 and is now running again on ITV Encore. I remember this series with great affection and at first I thought ‘yes, it really is as good as I thought’.
A powerful mix of medical drama and daily soap, this series shows a busy accident and emergency department headed by consultant Robert Kingsford (Martin Shaw) with colleagues Christine (Niamh Cusack), Cathy (Jane Slavin), Mike (David Harewood), Stuart (Paul Warriner), Judy (Katie McEwen), Louise (Esther Hall), Terry the nurse (Connor McIntyre) and my favourite back then, paediatrician turned A&E regular Andrew (Dominic Mafham).
There’s romantic complications amongst the staff (Christine and Andrew are briefly linked, Robert chases Christine and then Cathy, following the sad death of his wife in a road traffic accident following the birth of their baby. Mike and Judy hook up, Stuart and Louise become reluctant parents, Cathy and David have a relationship that is tested by long-distance, etc etc.); and there are clashes between staff, patients, and patient families. The series doesn’t flinch from depicting the realities of a crisis department.
But the early promise of the first two series (with some superb storylines and guest appearances, notably Ken Colley as a would-be suicide, the death of a little girl in an RTA, and a tense whole episode set on a wrecked aeroplane) starts to flounder when Michael Kitchen joins the cast as clinical director Jack and the series is rebranded as ‘A&E’.
I’m starting to feel the same disenchantment now that I did in 2001-2, and I’m disappointed all over again. And I might abandon the repeats before the end of the run 🙁