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C21May iPad

C5 books in second Operation Live

Operation Live is broadcast from operating theatres in two London hospitals

UK pubcaster Channel 5 has commissioned a second run of stripped event series Operation Live, C21 can reveal.

Ninder Billing, executive producer for UK production outfit The Garden, made the announcement this morning at ITV Studios (ITVS)’s Formats Fest in London.

Viacom-owned C5 originally commissioned the series last year, airing the entire season across three nights in November.

The show was broadcast live from inside an operating theatre using the latest technology and with access to two London hospitals belonging to Barts Health NHS Trust, St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London.

It showed surgeons carrying out procedures including open heart surgery on a faulty valve, the total replacement of an arthritic knee and the removal of a cancerous tumour from a patient’s bowel.

Live commentary was provided by the surgeons involved and presenter Nicky Campbell from a remote location with live camera and audio feed to the operating theatre.

Campbell was accompanied by an expert in each particular field who helped answer questions and provide insights.

Speaking to C21 during a question and answer session at Formats Fest, Billing confirmed C5 had renewed the series, with the second run premiering in April.

She said the action of a live operation provided compelling storytelling for viewers and that was reflected in overnight ratings.

“We’re pure in our concept and confident that going into the sacred space of the operating theatre gives enough drama for an audience to stay and watch it unfolding in real time without wanting to cut away to other action, or to edit in any way what we’re seeing. The audience responded to it,” she said.

“We’re now in production for series two, which is going to go live in less than two months. That’s testimony to audience appetite for this kind of series.”

Produced by ITVS-owned The Garden, Operation Live is exec produced by Billing. The series producer on season one was Emma Jay.

The format has since travelled to Australia, with broadcaster Seven Network recently commissioning ITVS Australia to produce Operation: Live over two nights.

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