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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 90 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

84

Distance is often a key factor when healthcare is the issue – in Saskatchewan radio

plays and in Saskatchewan’s history. The reality of delivering healthcare was the

subject of the earliest healthcare-related radio play in this collection.

Air Ambulance by Dave Innes was Broadcast over CBK in 1960 (30:00), it is a

docudrama that aims to tell the story of the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service, then

in its sixteenth year of operation. The very creation of the Air Ambulance Service is a

testament to the distances between some Saskatchewan residents and needed medical

care. The play takes the form of a documentary, which fits well into the importance put

on education and inspiration in radio drama of the period. Air Ambulance is very much

of the educational style of Mary Pattison’s Gold is Where You Find It.64 But where

Pattison chose a more traditional, educational drama approach, Innes uses a docudrama

style. The plot of Air Ambulance, follows a reporter character named Jack Craig who

arrives at the Regina hanger of the Saskatchewan Air Ambulance Service to interview

the crew. The action fades between Jack’s interviews in the hangar and remembered

Air Ambulance flights transporting sick and injured patients back to Regina for

treatment. During the course of the play, the listener learns the air ambulance now flies

about 1,000 missions a year and has carried over 12,000 patients in its sixteen year

history. The service has flown many kinds of cases from polio victims in need of an

iron lung, to injured farmers, to women delivering babies. The play concludes with

Jack dramatically pronouncing that, “This is a story worth telling”.

The real air ambulance crew-members on which the characters were based are

then interviewed in studio. “Don”, a fourteen-year veteran of the service, highlights

both the isolation from medical care that rural residents face in Saskatchewan and the

64

Mary Pattison’s Summerfallow script is discussed further in the History and Isolation chapter.

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