I’ve just had a glimpse behind the scenes of Britain's number one daytime medical soap, Doctors.
Before I even left for the studio, I joked at the possibility that they more than likely filmed the series in a real doctors' surgery in a real building as opposed to a warehouse. Imagine how surprised I was when I actually walked up to the site – located on the campus of the University of Birmingham – to find a full-size replica doctors' surgery staring back at me – The Mill Health Centre in all its glory.
At first, I thought Harrods were eager beavers when they put their Christmas décor up four months early, but the cast and crew of Doctors were also in the festive spirit as they filmed their Christmas episodes.
Now, after six years, eight series and, on average, 190 episodes a year, Doctors celebrates its 1000th episode today. Filming for the episode took place earlier this year with guest appearances coming from Footballers' Wives' Susie Amy alongside Paula Wilcox and the legendary Richard Briers.
Previous years have been no different; a plethora of notable guest artists have graced the the fictional Midlands town of Letherbridge with their presence; the likes of Stephanie Powers (The Six Million Dollar Man, Heart to Heart), Jane Asher (Crossroads, New Tricks), Eric Sykes (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Darren Day (Mile High, French and Saunders), Honour Blackman (James Bond: Goldfinger, Dr Who, Coronation Street), Kym Marsh (Coronation Street), Jonathan Edwards and Emma Samms (The Colbys, Dynasty).
Now, Rula Lenska is the latest name to make her mark on the show; and you can take my word for it - she was actually filming during my visit.
In the 1000th episode, an explosive and ultimately tragic car crash opens the action; the drama then rewinds an hour earlier and the 60-minute special plays out in “real” time, culminating in the dramatic revelation of the identity of the car crash victim.
As our exclusive pictures show, the explosion is far from a mediocre effort. A lorry carrying gas cylinders collides with each of the doctors' cars. The question is, who survives?
One thousand episodes and counting, Doctors still remains a cult favourite among students and fans alike. Don't miss the special one-hour real-time episode 'Running Time' which airs on Wednesday, September 20.
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