BBC Radio Dramatisation of Direct Red by Gabriel Weston

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I heard Gabriel Weston talk at a library event last year; so when I spotted that the BBC had created a dramatised version I started listening immediately. This book is just as witty, intelligent and insightful as I had hoped it would be and I urge you to listen to it before it disappears from the BBC iplayer* tomorrow evening (10:00PM GMT Fri, 18 Mar 2011).

Direct Red is a memoir of the author’s life as a surgeon. In a series of short stories she reveals the truth about life inside a hospital. She explains exactly what doctors are thinking about as they deal with patients – revealing everything from the initial embarrassment of dealing with genitalia to the heartbreak of seeing people die. I’m sure that some people in the medical profession will object to the public learning that their minds are not always on the task in hand, or that lives are often put in danger by a lack of staff, but I found the insight into hospital life fascinating.

If you are squeamish then this book probably isn’t for you as there are many graphic descriptions of medical procedures. I must also warn you that some of the scenes are very distressing and most do not have a happy outcome.

If you have ever thought that audiobooks are a waste of time then I urge you to give this a try – the cast of excellent actors add an extra dimension to the text.

This is a well written, emotional, insight into the mind of a surgeon. Highly recommended.


* I think there may be problems listening to this outside the UK. If this is the case then I’m sure the text version is worth reading.

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  1. Verity says:

    Think I’d find this intriguing – I don’t have time to listen but the library has the book and I will pick it up tomorrow!

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, It’s a shame you won’t find the time to listen to it, but I hope that you enjoy reading it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  2. Jessica says:

    I was going to read my copy shortly as I’m going through a phase of reading more lighter stuff. Glad its as good as I hoped it is!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jessica, I’m not sure I’d describe this as light. Fast paced maybe, but the subject matter is pretty gruesome at times. The BBC drama was even more entertaining than her talk so I’m sure you’ll love the book. Enjoy :-)

  3. Rose says:

    I heard it by chance on R4 last week (yuk to the motorbike accident) but hadn’t clocked that it was a book adaptation – thanks for the tip-off.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rose, Yes. A lot of it was very graphic in the detail described – not something to listen to when eating! I think it did a fantastic job of letting us know what they have to deal with – my admiration for surgeons has risen even higher than it once was.

  4. Kathleen says:

    I just tried it (outside U.S) and it works fine. Thanks for the link. I’m fascinated by what really goes on in hospitals. I wanted to be a doctor at one time so I guess I still hold onto some of my fascination with all things medical.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, Thanks for letting me know that it works outside the UK. I hope that you enjoy listening to it.

  5. Annabel says:

    This book was brilliant, and makes you wish all surgeons were like her. Missed the R4 adaptation so will try to make time to listen again before it goes.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, Yes. She is so lovely. If you ever get the chance to hear her talk then I highly recommend it.

  6. Jackies Mum says:

    Thanks for the link. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it after my dental surgery
    this morning. It reminded of my student nurse days.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mum, Glad you enjoyed it! I hope your mouth recovers soon. :-)


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