Popular BBC hospital drama Casualty has reportedly had to axe a storyline highlighting smoking risks, as the actors cast for the episode were not allowed to smoke inside.
Casualty, which has run on the BBC since 1986, is filmed in Wales, where the ban on smoking has extended from public places to inside houses as well.
This meant that bosses at the hugely popular hospital drama were forced to shelve a storyline showing the dangers of smoking as the law in Wales will not make exceptions to the smoking ban, not even to allow for creative licence when filming TV shows (no wonder they aren’t making any more Gavin & Stacey!)
According to the Metro newspaper producers of the show, which moved its filming location to Cardiff last year, had called upon the Welsh Assembly to amend the law, but their application was denied.
The shows crew currently has to go to Bristol or use expensive CHI technology in order to show anyone smoking at present as fake cigarettes are deemed not realistic enough.
Clare Hudson, head of BBC Cymru Wales Productions, said: “What we are concerned about is that if we want the sky to be the limit for production in Wales, we need to be perceived as, and actually be, a can-do place where all things are possible in drama.
“An independent company can go and make a show anywhere – with new tax breaks coming in there will be more American companies who make decisions utterly ruthlessly.
“We may have a situation where our drama slate within Wales is potentially damaged by people making decisions on the basis of “oh, they won’t let us smoke, that’s a key part of this drama, let’s do it somewhere else”.”
However, anti-smoking group Ash have insisted that ban must remain in place so that workers can be protected.
A spokesperson said: “This, we would argue, is a matter of convenience for the television industry – and health legislation should not be amended on commercial grounds.
“What industry is going to come next?”
Watch a time when this was not a problem for the show in the clip below: