Posted by: Merlin PJ11 DEC 2008
Why does pharmacy always seem to get a poor press and little mention in the media except when Which? has a go at us? As Footler has pointed out (PJ, 29 November, p646), pharmacists rarely appear in television programmes, although he does mention a few rather ancient films with a pharmacy theme.
Many people in Britain take radio and television seriously. This is apparent from the numbers who think that characters in television soap operas are real, and send them birthday cards. Readers of Merlin’s generation will recall the national mourning that ensued when Grace Archer died in a stable fire in The Archers, the popular drama series broadcast on the wireless, as we then called it.
The Archers began shortly after the 1939–45 war during a period of food shortages and rationing. The then Ministry of Agriculture used it to disseminate information that could help farmers and small-holders to increase their productivity. The storylines also included handy hints for housewives. The same was true of the long-running but now defunct Mrs Dale’s Diary — in which Mrs Dale’s husband Jim was, of course, a doctor.
What we need is a long-running television series set in and around a community pharmacy, perhaps a village pharmacy somewhere. I have in mind something similar to Heartbeat, which is about life in a Yorkshire village in the 1960s, as seen through the eyes of the local policemen (real village bobbies, such as are probably not seen nowadays). However, our series would need to be set in the present day for maximum impact.
The possibilities are endless. We could see the effect of a visit from the Society’s inspector. The regular locum’s eccentric love life would be a constant theme, and we could work in some health education material, such as preparations for No Smoking Day and other public health themes. Let us not forget the safe use of prescribed medicines, the return of waste medicines and medicine use reviews.
Is there a pharmacist with a bent for writing television drama, who could start this off?