The Surgeon: articles

Sam Worthington

LIFELINE… Sam Worthington in the operating theatre in The Surgeon

Cutting-edge drama

CHANNEL 10 is trying something different with its new series The Surgeon.

Instead of sticking to the traditional formula of rolling a medical drama out in hour-long episodes, the channel has elected to put the show in more compact 30-minute packages.

The Surgeon also varies from other serials in the genre because it has all the intensity of a sophisticated medical drama but without the raucous action that seems to drive shows made overseas.

There are no frantic scenes with crowds of staff rushing to tend injured people in varying degrees of distress, no helicopters crashing down the side of the hospital buildings and no brawls in the emergency room.

This hospital-based drama is calm, composed and considered.

But don't get the wrong idea, there's plenty of blood and lots of anxious moments when lives hang in the balance.

Justine Clarke leads the show's strong ensemble cast and says the program was created to look like a hospital-based documentary.

"The episodes are shot mainly in the operating theatre, with some scenes done in the ward or the scrub room… and that's a lot like a surgeon's life because all they do is work," she says.

"Each episode will look at a particular operation and some of them will be elective, while others will be emergencies, and each will begin with the patient outside the hospital to set up the condition.

"It's as real life as we could make it because we wanted the audience to feel like they have been invited into the operating theatre.

"The show has a lot of action, but it doesn't have that slick American look, and it's different because it's tense but calm."

Working alongside Clarke on The Surgeon are Sam Worthington—from Dirty Deeds and Love My Way and Nicolas Bell, with the cast rounded out by Christopher Morris, Katie Wall and Matthew Newton.

Clarke, whose first major role on Australian television came in 1988 as Ruth Stewart in Home and Away, plays Dr Eve Agius who's a competent surgical fellow trying to survive in a world dominated by men.

"She is a quiet achiever who has spent much of her time studying and that means she doesn't have many social skills which manifests in her appearing aloof," the actress says.

"I tried to reveal Eve to the audience slowly because I wanted them to be comfortable with what they were seeing in the operating theatre before being bombarded by my character.

"Rather than being a show which features bold medical characters, like House, The Surgeon is more about moments and the exchanges between people."

By Sarah Nicholson
October 13, 2005
The Courier Mail