13 October 2003 | david-697
Fun but slightly disappointing.
After the high seas high-jinx of the previous movie, 'Doctor At Sea', 'Doctor At Large' sees the series go back to basics, with a return to St Swithin's and a reunion with all the main cast of 'Doctor In The House' (with the single exception of Kenneth More).
This return is a slight disappointment, as it never seems to recapture the magic of the original. Part of the problem is, I think, down to the script. There is no plot worth mentioning, more a series of sketches, some good, some bad, while the fact that this move seems to change it's setting every ten minutes or so, (the scene changes from London to Birmingham, Ireland, London again, the countryside, the South of France and back to London again) prevents you getting involved with the characters.
However, this constant change does have it's advantages, for one thing it shows off possibly the best cast ever assembled for a British comedy, with even the smallest role filled out by a familiar face. But, again, their appearance is usually limited to one or two brief scenes.
Of the cast, Lionel Jefferies and Dilys Laye catch the eye, as a seedy, mean, slightly sinister Doctor and his (much) younger blonde wife. Donald Sinden, reprising his role as Benskin from 'Doctor In The House' is fun to watch, playing a character not that different from the ones that Leslie Phillips would later play in the series. While James Robertson Justice hardly seems to be in this move, appearing briefly at the beginning but then not seen until the last twenty minutes or so of the picture.
On the whole 'Doctor At Large' is fun to watch and has a few good jokes (the 'big breaths' joke for example) but never seems to catch fire. It's worth watching but is far from being the best vehicle for Bogarde's Simon Sparrow.