Helicopter heroes take flight in new ‘grittier’ television show

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Extraordinary tales of the heart warming - and heart breaking - work of crews on Yorkshire Air Ambulance will once again hit our TV screens in a new prime time series.

The team behind the successful BBC series Helicopter Heroes have been working with crews for a new show, Helicopter ER, which starts on UKTV channel Really this autumn.

In the first series, viewers will see the teams take on the dramatic rescue of a tractor driver trapped under his sinking vehicle in an East Yorkshire lake, the fight to save a mountain biker who broke his back in a fall in the Peak District and the life or death struggle by a flying doctor, four paramedics and two helicopters to save a teenage worker who plunged through a North Yorkshire barn roof.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) runs two helicopters, with one based at Nostell Priory near Wakefield and the second at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk in North Yorkshire.

Helicopter ER has been made by York-based Air Television, and saw TV crews flying with crews of paramedics and doctors across Yorkshire. The team previously made seven series of Helicopter Heroes, between 2007 and 2014.

Executive producer Ian Cundall said: “We are British television’s only full-time, qualified medical helicopter aircrew so are able to shadow the medical team on the most complex rescues and to the most exposed locations.

“The access is extraordinary, the stories heart-warming and sometimes heart-breaking. We are moving from a day time to an evening prime time slot and the show will have a grittier editorial edge to reflect its new home.”

The new UKTV series will also provide a more in-depth look at the close working relationship YAA crews have with other emergency services such as the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust land crews, fire brigades, police and mountain rescue teams.

Director of marketing and communications at YAA, Abby McClymont, said the new series would enable the charity’s supporters to get a greater insight into the day-to-day work of crews.

She said: “The main focus will be the vital contribution our crews make to patients in often life-threatening and time critical incidents, their on-scene treatment and transfer to the best hospital for their injuries.”

FACTBOX

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a charity, which needs to raise £12,000 per day to keep both of the region’s air ambulances in the air and maintained - the equivalent of £4.4m a year.

It provides a lifesaving rapid response emergency service 365 days a year to 5m people across 4m acres of Yorkshire.

Patients are transferred to the nearest major trauma centres, flying at up to 160mph.

YAA paramedics and dispatchers are seconded to the charity by Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

It currently attends over 1,000 missions a year, an average of three a day.

To date, over 6,800 patients have been carried to relevant treatment centres.