10 May 2003 | dj-dom
Not a bad sequel...
This follow-up to "Doctor in the House" (1969) was, in many ways, better than its predecessor because the new premise of qualified doctors endeavouring to find their feet in the medical profession provided greater scope for new situations in each week's installment - vital as this series enjoyed one extended run of 29 episodes from March to September, 1971.
The removal of the less interesting characters from the first programme (Dave Briddock, Danny Hooley) meant that Geoffrey Davies and, particularly, George Layton were now given the chance to shine and, consequently, turned in some great performances. Richard O'Sullivan was a terrific addition to the cast as the odious Lawrence Bingham.
I've always thought Barry Evans as Michael Upton was a little stiff and not likeable enough, preferring Robin Nedwell's Duncan Waring (to return the following year in "Doctor in Charge" (1972)), but as the central character, here he is entertaining enough, while the real glory belongs to Layton, Davies et al.
The quality of the writing was excellent - unsurprising, given that John Cleese, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie were among those contributing scripts. Further evidence of their eminence is the string of guest appearances by actors who were - or were to become - comedy greats. These included: Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, David Jason, Hattie Jacques, Mollie Sugden, Patricia Routledge, Fulton MacKay, Maureen Lipman and Roy Kinnear.
If you get the chance to catch some of these seldom-repeated shows, don't miss out!