Magazine

Readers' gripes about TV depictions of their jobs

Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost Image copyright ALAMY
Image caption Ghost: That's no way to throw a pot

If you shout at the TV when a drama gets the finer details of your job wrong, rest assured - you are not alone.

The Magazine looked at how TV dramas rile people when key information concerning their occupations is inaccurate. Readers have been supplying their - very specific - complaints about the way their own professions are portrayed.

I work at Gladstone Pottery Museum making pots. Visitors mention the pottery scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost. Why on earth is Demi Moore's character throwing pots in her living room? Anyone who has worked on a pottery will tell you that you'd never do that - clay gets everywhere, literally everywhere, not only through spatter, smearing and being trodden underfoot, but from the clay dust in the air. Gary Cooper, potter

I have never, ever "shushed" someone, I'm not known for wearing twinset and pearls and I don't believe that I come across as mousy or dowdy. Jonathan Gibbs, librarian

Among many, many errors of science on TV, it's the tidiness of the labs they show that really get me. If you have a pristine lab, you're not getting work done. Grace, lab technician

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Suspiciously tidy?

Dramas very rarely seem to get anything right when it comes to the police. No one ever turns their blues and twos on as they seem to magically start on their own. Adrian

Don't even get me started on the inaccuracies of shutter sounds in films. Jack Luke, photographer

Nurses who put their hands in their pockets! It may be possible when you are wearing a nurse "costume" given to you by the wardrobe department, but real-life nurses cannot find room in their pockets to put hands. Pockets are filled with notebooks, scissors, tape, clamps for IV lines, bungs to cap off venflons (still in their sterile wrapping), pens, pencils and pocket calculators for drug calculations. Leigh Chapman, former gynaecological nurse

I hate how they get confused about chemotherapy. Patients on TV always lose their hair yet in reality it depends what chemo drugs you are prescribed. Emma Morris, therapeutic radiographer

I stopped watching House when they showed a CT scan being read from a Roche Lightcycler which does not carry out CT scans. It is used for certain genetic tests. Catie Gilbert, biomedical scientist

Image caption Holby City: Not so fast with the defibrillator

What I've seen in medical dramas so often is the scenario where someone has a cardiac arrest and there is a straight line on the ECG monitor and a steady beep. Immediately the patient is given a shock from a defibrillator. It looks dramatic - but is totally wrong! The straight line means there is no heart beat (asystole) and no electrical activity in the heart muscle. This is not shockable - a shock just doesn't work! William Holme, consultant anaesthetist

TV doctors examine people's eyes, instead of optometrists. So often they hold the ophthalmoscope back to front, shining the light in their own eye instead of into the patient's eye. Lisa Crouch, optometrist

Pharmacists wearing white lab coats. I've not worn one since 2007. Paul Knapton

I run a sauna repair company and it really annoys me when saunas are portrayed as being full of steam. Saunas give off a dry heat and there is never any steam. Mandy Friend

As a scientist my gripe with TV depictions of laboratories is that all the liquids on display are coloured, and unless you are a colour chemist they seldom are! Jeff Dickinson, retired chartered chemist

The archetypal exotic property interior typically featured in a James Bond movie could never be passed by a UK building control officer. They may look great but are health and safety disasters and as such are totally impractical. Paul Tricki, architect

There is a lack of smoke when filming inside a burning building. In reality, the smoke is most often so thick that it is impossible to see through, of course, the camera wouldn't be able to show anything if the smoke were "real". Phillip Knight, former firefighter

Image caption Frank Spencer's beret - nothing like a soldier

I hate (and I expect so do all the other serving and ex-serving soldiers who have ever lived) the way actors wear their berets when playing the part of soldiers. Being allowed to shape your beret is one of the milestones of basic training but most actors either wear them like Frank Spencer or look as if they have a large dollop of cow dung on their heads. Shane Larkin, former soldier

Nurses and doctors doing X-rays, CT and MRI. They never do that. We train for three years and yet radiographers are invisible on TV! Cherry Black, NHS diagnostic radiographer

Local newspaper journalists are always portrayed as sleazy and prepared to stop at nothing to get a story, door-stepping victims and prepared to break into buildings to get what they need. Rarely do you see them sat in an office rewriting press releases. Darren Burke, chief reporter, South Yorkshire Newspapers

You cannot talk to someone while riding in a helicopter. It is all you can do to stop your teeth vibrating out of your mouth. Rob Allen, veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and a few others

Compiled by Clare Spencer

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