|The Liver Run|
|Police - The Liver Run|
"One of the finest examples of police driving under pressure ever captured on video"
This commemorative page was launched on 8 May 2007 to mark the 20th anniversary.
What Was The Liver Run?
It was 8 May 1987. At the Cromwell Hospital in London a transplant patient's body was chronically rejecting her recently replaced liver. A nationwide search located a suitable donor organ in Hull, and so began a life or death race against time to bring that organ to London. The plane that was flying it to London was delayed by fog. This meant that there was very little time to get the liver from the airport to the hospital. The ambulance service did not have a fast enough vehicle. The police helicopter was grounded. So it was down to two Metropolitan police cars to make the last vital stage of the journey. The medical operation had already been started and surgeons were awaiting the arrival of the liver. If it was not there by 12:30 pm, the police were told to abort the run as it would be too late.
The police had just 34 minutes to cover 27 miles across London on this Friday afternoon. The journey they made was shown as a Police, Camera, Action! special in 1996.
What Was The Route?
After leaving Kingston upon Hull, the plane with the liver on board flew in to Stanstead Airport in Essex. An Essex police car then pulled up alongside the plane and transported the liver down the M11 from junction 8 to junction 7.
12 miles after it left the airport complex, the Essex police Ford Granada stopped on top of junction 7 ( A on map) and handed the liver over to 2 Metropolitan police Rover SD1 3500s.
The two Rovers (one as a back-up car) then sped Southbound into London. Their journey took them through East London, The City, Westminster and on to Kensington in West London. The final destination was the Cromwell Hospital ( B on map).
The run passed through: Blakehall Road, Green Man Roundabout, High Road (Leytonstone), The City, Embankment, Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Constitution Hill, Hyde Park Corner, South Carriage Road, The Cromwell Road.
Summary of The Run
At 11:54 the police are waiting on top of junction 7 of the M11 looking out for the Essex police Ford Granada to approach. As it does, they meet it at the top of the slip road. The video car blocks the road while officers move the box containing the liver from the Essex car to the Met car. These two images are taken at points A and B on the aerial view below.
Aerial view of the M11 Junction 7
By 11:58 the cars have picked up speed on the M11 motorway and approaching 120 mph. By 12:14 they are making progress through the city streets. A number of police officers can be seen helping by keeping junctions clear. A motorcycle officer can be seen in the right-hand picture giving a wave. His bike is parked in the middle of the road.
At 12:20 the cars are speeding down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. You can see that they have just run a red traffic light at 60 mph, but officers on foot had stopped all approaching traffic. At 'The Wedding Cake' outside Buckingham Palace, the cars take to the wrong side of the road as the whole area has been kept clear for them.
At 12:25 the cars pull into the car park of the Cromwell Hospital. The police officers rush to grab the box with the liver in and pass it to a waiting porter. They later found out that because of their efforts the patient survived.
Why not use a helicopter?
The London HEMS air ambulance started in 1989, two years after the Liver Run! Also there was not enough time to organise a private helicopter.
The Liver Run is not available on DVD or Video. The original recording belongs to the Metropolitan Police, London. The Liver Run episode was shown on ITV as part of the first season of Police, Camera, Action! programmes in 1996. It has not been released for the public to buy and belongs to Carlton UK Productions, who commissioned Optomen Television to produce it. A much shorter version of The Liver Run formed part of the video Police Stop! 5. However it was edited out when the programme was aired on television (Sky One). It is believed that Police Stop! 5 is not available on video. A very short clip of the run was used in a subsequent Police, Camera, Action! episode to highlight police vehicles being stuck in heavy traffic.
A Police Camera Action book has been produced which shows a number of pictures of The Liver Run alongside commentary text. This is still available from Amazon (link below).
The Liver Re-run
When we interviewed Police, Camera, Action! host Alastair Stewart about making a 20th anniversary programme about the run, he said "It's a very good idea". It was suggested that preserved police vehicles that closely matched those used could be teamed up with the original police officers. The cars could then make the same journey (not using blue lights this time!) and be filmed at various stages. Additional background about the run could be mentioned. Unfortunately this idea did not happen - but is not being ruled out for the future!
What the end of the Liver Re-run could look like.
A copy of The Liver Run has previously been available on You Tube. It was removed for breaching copyright rules, but other copies may appear. We are not responsible for the contents of external websites.
If you have any further information about The Liver Run, then please get in touch with us!