24 Hours in the ER

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
24 Hours in the ER TV Poster Image
Compelling, graphic docuseries in London ER.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show illustrates the importance of self-sacrifice in the service of helping others, especially those injured or in especially desperate need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The doctors and nurses depicted on the series provide strong positive examples of the redeeming value of choosing medicine as a life's work. Some of the patients demonstrate poor modeling due to the bad decisions that lead to their injuries, for example, a man who stands incorrectly on a ladder and falls.


There is no violence on the series. However, there is frequent and occasionally graphic depictions of real-life medical injuries, including bloody wounds, severe bodily trauma, and unedited sequences in which doctors treat those injuries.


Occasional use of words like "s--t," as well as more frequent "damn" and "hell." British colloquial slang is also frequent including "bloody" as an adjective.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the more common ailments treated by doctors on the series is alcoholism and the painful injuries that can often happen when alcohol is abused. These patients are depicted in their fully-inebriated states.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary series provides a very real and unflinching look at events on an average day in the busiest emergency room in London, England. The camera does not turn away from occasionally graphic injuries and the techniques doctors use to treat those injuries. Squeamish viewers who are uncomfortable with the sight of blood should watch very cautiously. For older teens, the series provides a compelling look at the realities of the medical profession.

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byHesitantPig765 December 24, 2020
It's all about doctor helping people in A&E and getting them better, highly recommend for strong stomached indeviduals.
Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus September 12, 2012

What's the story?

London's King's College Hospital is one of the busiest emergency rooms in England, serving 60,000 people daily and treating 350 of them in the major trauma unit. For the documentary series 24 HOURS IN THE ER, crews utilized filming techniques perfected on reality series to wire the King's College ER with over 14 miles of camera cable, 70 remote cameras, and a crew filming 24 hours a day for 28 days. The resulting series provides an unprecedented glimpse into the true reality of the life and death scenarios faced many times a day by these medical professionals.

Is it any good?

Throw a Nielsen box in any direction and you're likely to hit a medical show. Whether a sensitive drama about flirty doctors or a sensationalized reality-style series about outlandish medical events ("I was pregnant and I didn't know it!"), medicine is big on TV. 24 Hours in the ER manages to carve out some unique ground by focusing on the unvarnished reality of day-to-day medicine in one of the UK's most active emergency rooms.
The production team basically wired London's King's College hospital like the house on Big Brother, with discrete cameras and microphones throughout. This helped them capture moments big and small -- the arrival of heavily-injured extreme trauma patients brings an avalanche of hands into the unit to assist, while at a quiet counter, a doctor grabs a very fast bite of food before rushing away to continue work. At a time when TV doctors seem too busy hooking up with one another or chatting with ghosts to perform actual medicine, 24 Hours is a compelling change of pace.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of the show's depiction of graphic injuries. Are they less disturbing because they are shown in a documentary context as opposed to a fictional one?

  • Does this show make you want to be a doctor? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 27, 2011
  • Network: BBC America
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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