TV advertising: Behind the scenes with first aid

Happy Hour’s brilliant Production Manager Aisha Graham manages pre-production across all our TV advertising projects, the day-to-day running of the Production Office and leads on all broadcast distribution of television and radio commercials.

Here Aisha shares her latest experience on one of the lesser-known parts of the job…

For 2 years, thanks to the virus formerly known as Corona, I’ve been playing a game of cat and mouse trying to get booked onto a first aid training course.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “surely it’s not that hard” and you’re right, a quick Google search will harvest a throng of options, all labelled ‘first aid at work’.

As much as I love the idea of sitting in a low-ceilinged beige office with mismatched chairs and flickering fluorescent tubes, doing an acronym quiz while eating custard creams, I knew as a kinaesthetic learner, this sort of training wasn’t going to stay in my brain.

I also knew, as a Production Manager, that the most useful first aid skills I could acquire were ones that can be utilised whilst on a shooting location, not a low-risk office.

So, after some research, I found Lazarus, who offer media-specific training and use live, hands-on simulations to teach their students. I knew this was going to not only be the most beneficial course for myself and my Production Coordinator Will, but also the most fun!

Lazarus do most of their training in London and Essex but do occasionally offer regional courses. So each month I would check in with my contact to see if a Southwest option was available and eventually, one popped up in the Mendips. An hour’s drive for us but still can’t complain about a Bristol postcode. So, after 2x postponements and an out of the blue funeral bank holiday, we were booked on.

Joining us on the course were various TV Production crew, who all worked in natural history and/or wildlife filmmaking and were about to visit some far-flung, hostile environments for their productions. Places where there would be no roads, no telephone or internet signal and definitely no medical care. A few sighs of relief were shared between Will and I when we realised that the most remote shooting location Happy Hour had coming up was a National Trust property in Somerset.

The 2 days of training were intense and dare I say, emotional. Our trainers were ex-military and fire-service (plus an actor), and the time was punctuated with real videos of people having accidents and dying or almost dying, actual squirting [fake] arterial blood spraying from catastrophic wounds, and, perhaps most horrifically, sausage rolls with undressed salad for lunch.

By actually attending to a ‘real’ person [actor] screaming in pain and writhing around, or unconscious with ‘vomit’ in their mouth, or with their intestines hanging out, the learning parts of our brains were forced to wake up. So much so that we both dreamt about the course after we did it.

So, as much as we hope we don’t have to employ any of our newly acquired skills, we feel enriched with valuable knowledge, confident that we’ll know what to do in the unlikely event anything untoward should happen.

And I can sleep easy at night knowing I’m the fastest tourniquet-er in the Southwest.

Thank you Lazarus Training and Charterhouse Outdoor Centre.

Want to know more about TV advertising?

At Happy Hour we specialise in producing feature film quality TV commercials for brands that want to drive response and stand out in their market.

If that’s you and you’d like a no-pressure chat about working together on your TV advertising, please get in touch using our contact form or email us at

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