We compared the performance of the McGrath® Series 5 videolaryngoscope with the Macintosh laryngoscope in 49 patients without suspected cervical spine pathology, whose cervical spine was immobilised using a semi-rigid collar. The primary outcome was the view obtained at laryngoscopy. Secondary outcomes included time to tracheal intubation, rates of successful intubation and incidence of complications. In all patients, the view was better (92%) or the same (8%) in the McGrath group versus the Macintosh group (p <0.01). There were no failed intubations in the McGrath group and seven (28%) in the Macintosh group (p <0.02). There was no statistical difference in time taken to intubate or incidence of complications. We conclude that the McGrath® Series 5 is a superior laryngoscope when cervical spine immobilisation is maintained during tracheal intubation.