CRITICAL INCIDENT – Tern Television
Tern Television has been commissioned by the BBC to make a third series of Critical Incident. This 15-part documentary series tells the true stories of police officers, paramedics and firefighters who have been attacked and injured in the line of duty, with an emphasis on their recovery and return to work. It also considers how and when the criminals responsible are brought to justice.
The main theme of the series is bravery. Although the focus of the programme is to highlight the issue of assaults on emergency service staff, we also want to tell the stories of officers who have put their lives on the line in order to protect their colleagues and/or members of the public. These could be stories of “near misses”, where the officers come through unscathed, or rescue attempts, for example. In telling these stories, we want to reflect to our audience the enormous dedication and bravery shown by officers every single day, especially during the pandemic.
The TV Process & Programme
The original series of Critical Incident, which broadcast in 2019, was developed with the assistance of the Police Federation of England & Wales and used the #ProtecttheProtectors Campaign as the blueprint for the programmes. Several officers who featured in the campaign agreed to take part in the series, which was nominated for ‘Best Daytime Series’ in the 2019 Broadcast Awards.
We are keen to keep building on these relationships but also use the success of the first two series to establish new connections and keep finding stories from forces in other parts of the country.
The first stage is always an initial research chat over the phone with a member of our production team, to tell us about their experiences. This is an opportunity to introduce ourselves and the programme and to answer any questions that the officer may have and fully consider whether taking part in the programme is right for them.
The second stage is to film the interview with the officer(s) on camera. Where relevant, we would also seek to approach colleagues, senior officers and family members to include their testimonies and film some “at work” scenes.
Wherever possible we use bodycam, dashcam, helicam, radio comms, CCTV and/or UCG, to illustrate the gravity of the incidents that the officers were involved in. This impactful archive, alongside the first-hand accounts, is a key element of the series. It would be hugely helpful if, later down the line, you could provide any related footage. We are aware of the sensitivities around this type of archive and have rigorous legal and compliance protocols in place concerning its transmission.
Another key moment is the return to work – whether it’s getting back on the beat, behind the wheel or a first day back in uniform – to reflect the dedication and bravery of men and women at the frontline of modern policing. Where relevant, we would also like to portray elements of rehabilitation and recovery of officers who have required medical treatment.
We worked closely with emergency service organisations from all over the UK to make the first two series. These include: the Met, Kent Police, GMP, West Midlands Police, ambulance trusts in the West Midlands, South West and Northern Ireland, Tyne & Wear FRS, Humberside FRS and many, many more.
• We anticipate that filming will take no more than 1-2 days per story and we will work with you to minimise disruption and fit in with your shifts.
• The filming period for this series will start in June and is likely to carry on until February 2022.
• The series is due to be aired in Spring 2022
Safe Filming During Covid
Tern Television has stringent safety protocols in place specifically designed for this production in order to ensure safe filming at all times. The film crew (maximum two people per shoot) will operate a series of safe-distancing measures, including conducting all interviews from a 2m distance and we can film outside if necessary. Prior to each shoot, we will work with you to risk assess each location and incorporate any protocols and instructions you have in place.
We will closely monitor the health and exposure of our team and the contributors, including any underlying medical conditions, symptoms of illness and social contact in the 14 days preceding the filming date.
Our overriding principle is that health will always take precedence over filming needs and we will only ever aim to film what is necessary for the programme using the precautions laid set out in the protocols, to mitigate against the risk of Covid-19.
The production crew will have been required to have successfully completed the safe filming awareness training certification course provided by ScreenSkills prior to starting filming.
The series has been commissioned by the BBC to go out in the Spring 2022 schedule in the 9.15am slot immediately after the BBC Breakfast Show. The first two series were regularly watched by an audience of at least 1.5m viewers. Over its run (date TBC), the series will be shown every weekday for three weeks and each episode will immediately available on iPlayer for up to a year afterwards.
Duty of Care
We want our audience to understand the human face of policing and thereofre we want to hear what the officers have been through - in their own words. We have filmed with many officers who had been through disturbing and traumatic incidents and we understand that for many, taking part in these interviews and reliving harrowing incidents can be incredibly difficult as well as rewarding.
We are a highly experienced team of programme makers, and ensure the highest standards of duty of care at all times. We will always treat the officers who take part with the utmost care, respect and sensitivity. All calls will be handled in complete confidence.
About Tern Television
Tern Television is an award-winning television production company with an international reputation for making high-quality programmes.
We take pride in how we work with contributors and will always seek to portray their stories in a truthful, accurate and sensitive way. As well as putting your officers’ well-being at the heart of this production, we will also work closely with your organisation throughout the process to ensure the highest levels of truth and accuracy when it comes to telling these stories, and that filming is kept to a minimum to avoid disrupting the officers’ daily and professional lives.
If you are interested in participating in the programmes or have a colleague who may be willing to discuss their experiences, please contact the Producer, Susie Wright – email@example.com