Surgeons frOm Guy’s Hospital have appeared in Netflix’s new drama series The Crown, in what is thought to be the first time real life medics performed a TV-show procedure.
The transplant team from Guy’s were asked on the programme, which focuses on Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, for a scene in the first episode when King George VI needs lung surgery.
In 1951 pioneering surgeon Sir Clement Price Thomas removed a cancerous tumour from the King’s lung during an operation carried out in Buckingham Palace.
The Crown were put in contact with Pankaj Chandak, a specialist registrar in transplant surgery at Guy’s Hospital.
They filmed the scenes in their free time last November, wearing surgical gowns and costumes from the period.
Professor Nizam Mamode, consultant transplant surgeon, was transformed into Sir Clement, while Francis Calder, consultant transplant surgeon, Sister Kim Wall and Sister Abigail Keen completed the team.
Mr Chandak, who is also an honorary lecturer and research fellow at King’s College London, said: “Being part of The Crown was an experience we will never forget. Despite having the film crew around us, once we settled in it felt like a normal day in the operating theatre.
“The prosthetic body was incredibly life like, complete with a beating heart, and there was meticulous attention to detail on set to recreate the surgical world from 1951.
“I asked the production company to donate the ‘body’ we operated on to the Gordon Museum of Pathology at King’s College London as an educational prop.
“I would like to use it for future demonstrations and lectures to show how far we’ve come with surgery since the time King George VI was operated on.
“At Guy’s Hospital we carry out minimally-invasive techniques through keyhole and robotic surgery, meaning that patients can leave hospital sooner and recover more quickly than they have previously been able to.”
The entire series of The Crown, which stars Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, is now available on Netflix.