Channel 5 today has commissioned a feature length documentary with the working title The Frontline: Doctors of War.

The film focuses on a British volunteer surgeon and anaesthetist, deployed to a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital facility in war-ravaged South Sudan, to provide medical assistance in a time of crisis.

The Frontline: Doctors of War has been commissioned as a 1 x 90 minute documentary and will be produced by ITN Productions. Filming, which took place earlier this year during the time that fragile peace was declared in South Sudan, completed ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown. The documentary will air later this year on Channel 5.

The Frontline: Doctors of War follows former NHS surgeon John Buckels and his anesthetist for two weeks as they face the reality of humanitarian disaster in a country splintered by ten years of conflict. John joins a wider team of international healthcare professionals operating under extreme pressures in one of the world’s largest refugee camps as they battle to save lives, amidst an onslaught of war-induced injuries.

“This documentary offers a unique, graphic and heart wrenching record of emergency medicine and surgery in a conflict zone,” Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor, Factual, Channel 5 commented. “Placing these original feature length documentaries in the heart of the Channel 5 schedule means we can tell important international stories such as this. The team at ITNP has managed to capture the extraordinary experiences of UK medics working in South Sudan in a way that viewers will find they cannot ignore.”

Ian Rumsey, Director of TV Production at ITN Productions said: “It’s important for us to bring this story to the screen. It’s a story of both suffering and heroism. And it’s also vital for everyone to understand the amazing work these medics are doing, and the dire situation that still exists for the people of South Sudan.”

The Frontline: Doctors of War has been commissioned by Davies for Channel 5 and is Exec Produced at ITN Productions by Ian Rumsey and Nathaniel Lippiett, who also directed the documentary.

Jon Creamer

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