Telly Today: Golf, Lego and the West Midlands Ambulance Service

Today’s telly top picks with ATV Today Editor Doug Lambert.

Thursday televisual treats brings us a lot of sport, from the golf course to York’s racecourse.

BBC One screens at 9pm the first edition in an eight part series, Ambulance. The observational documentary returns to the network this time with unparalleled insight into the West Midlands Ambulance Service. Each episode follows the call-handlers and ambulance dispatchers in the highly pressurised control-room, and the paramedics, technicians and specialist Air Ambulance crews out on the ground.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has to respond in minutes to more than 3,000 emergency calls every day from across a diverse region covering more than 5,000 square miles – from rural Herefordshire where the distance to a trauma hospital could be over an hour, to the busy urban centre of Birmingham. With an ageing population, out-of-hours mental health services and GP surgeries increasingly stretched, and many A&E departments overcrowded, the role of the ambulance service is changing.

8.31pm on a Saturday night, and West Midland Ambulance Service takes a call from a distraught woman whose husband has collapsed on their lounge floor. The call hander must stay cool-headed and coach the woman and her daughter over the phone in how to do CPR while ambulance crew Katie and Sarah race to help. By midnight, the impact of Saturday night drinking is beginning to show, as calls pour in to the control-room reporting numerous fights and violent attacks. Controller Glennis has to juggle her time between trying to help a crew who’ve been searching for an elderly man, who’s fallen in an alleyway, and a high-priority call for a street brawl.

In an episode which begins with the life of a man in jeopardy, paramedics Natalie and Nat face an agonising decision of whether to move a woman in advanced labour, or face the risky prospect of delivering the baby at home, knowing she’s already had a stillbirth. In just two shifts, the staff of the West Midlands Service have faced life, death, and resurrection.

Sky Sports has the PGA Tour gearing up for the season end (7pm). It’s crunch time on the PGA Tour as the world’s very best head to the Northern Trust at Old Westbury in New York, the first event in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. A season-ending, money-rich extravaganza, the playoffs are a run of three events before it all culminates at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

For the first event this week, the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup rankings are eligible, before the field is whittled down each week, reduced to 30 for the final event in Georgia. Each tournament, therefore, has a fine field of the very best the PGA Tour has to offer, as players look to put themselves in prime position. Past winners of this tournament hint at its quality – current world number one Dustin Johnson, former world number one Jason Day and 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia all count themselves as former champions here. PGA Tour – Northern Trust – Day One begins tonight at 7pm live on Sky Sports Golf.

It’s a different kind of competition on Channel 4 as the hunt is on for the UK and Ireland’s best Lego builders, in LEGO Masters (8pm). Some of the country’s most skilled brick fanatics do battle to be crowned Lego Master 2017.

In the first episode, 48 pairs are whittled down to just eight final teams through a series of challenges. Next, the eight teams must create a spectacular brick banquet, including an impressive chair that not only looks the part, but also strong enough for presenter Melvin Odoom. The teams must also make at least one supersized masterpiece for the banquet table.

The results include a crispy aromatic duck and prawn toast, a hog roast, and a gravity-defying cuppa. Judging the models is a man who knows a thing or two about bricks, The LEGO Group’s Matthew Ashton, Vice President of Design. Joining Matthew this time is structural engineer Roma Agrawal, who will be looking at how the seats sit up under scrutiny. Two teams must be eliminated. Who will tower above their opponents, and who will come tumbling down under the pressure? 

ITV today continue with their horse racing coverage. ITV Racing Live: York Ebor Festival (1.30pm) sees Francesca Cumani and Ed Chamberlin present live coverage from the festival with guests Jason Weaver, Johnny Murtagh and Hayley Turner. They will be joined by ITV Sport reporters Oli Bell and Luke Harvey, betting reporter Matt Chapman and commentator Richard Hoiles.

The jewel in the crown of York’s Knavesmire Racecourse, the Ebor festival is one of the last major race meetings of the flat season. The festival was established in 1843, and features some of the most historic races in the calendar, attracting racegoers from all over the world. Yesterday, the opening day of the festival, the group one Juddmonte International took centre stage. This year, the race will claim the record for the richest ever run at York, with a one-million-pound prize at stake. Previous winners of the famous sprint include Sir Henry Cecil’s racing legend Frankel.

Glamour and fashion arrive on the Knavesmire this afternoon, as racegoers dress to impress for Ladies Day. Taking centre stage tomorrow is the fast group one Nunthorpe Stakes.

Channel 4 bring us the LEGO Masters at 8pm.
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