When you talk about TV doctors, many people immediately think of Richard Chamberlain. However, doctors have always been a major feature of TV shows on this side of the Atlantic and to honor the men and women who monitor the health of our favorite fictional characters, here are the Best British TV Doctors.
Dr Finlay (Bill Simpson) in Dr Finlay’s Casebook. Set in the Scottish town of Tannochbrae, Dr Finlay’s Casebook was first broadcast 49 years ago and even at that time Dr Finlay was something of a throwback to simpler times. Despite his small town surroundings, he valiantly fought against all kinds of ills that included his nutty housekeeper and a pernicious rival.
Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) in Doc Martin. Martin Clunes is not behaving as badly as he once did now that he is working in the medical profession. ITV’s Doc Martin is stuck in rural Cornwall rather than Scotland but unlike brave old Finlay, Martin has a fear of blood which is a bit of an issue for a roving country doctor.
Doctor Monroe (James Nesbitt) in Monroe. James Nesbitt is perhaps best known for his role as another doctor who did not have much of a bedside manner – Dr Jekyll. However, ITV’s Monroe is not just any doctor, he is a crusading, slightly grumpy neurosurgeon and Nesbitt deserves some credit just for getting the lingo down.
Doctor Price (Geoffrey Palmer) in Fawlty Towers. The name may not ring a bell but it was Geoffrey Palmer who uttered the immortal words “I am a Doctor and I want my sausages.” The medical world has never been the same since.
Doctor Harold Legg (Leonard Fenton) in Eastenders. Poor old Dr Legg had to deal with all sorts while on Albert Square ranging from heroin addicts to Wilmott-Brown’s various sexual assault victims. His greatest challenge of all though was fending off the unwanted advances of one Mrs Dorothy Cotton.
Doctor Tom Latimer (Nigel Havers) in Don’t wait Up. Long before Nigel Havers was carrying on with Sally Field on ABC, he was helping the poor old souls of the Harley Street area of London, battle head colds and veruccas. He and his Dad ran a practice together that was more like a dating service than a surgery but unluckily for him, Dinah Sheridan was there to keep them in line.
Doctor Watson (Edward Hardwicke) in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Many actors have taken on the role of Dr Watson down the years and Edward Hardwicke was just one of two actors to play the role alongside Jeremy Brett’s Holmes. Despite the competition, Hardwicke is the actor who really made the role his own and is the man you think of whenever you hear mention of Holmes’ long suffering companion.
Doctor Millais Culpin (William Houston) in Casualty 1909. There wasn’t any malaise when Millais was around because the leftie activist Doctor was as dedicated to fighting illnesses as he was to undermining Victorian “values.” He would not last five minutes in the polite world of casualty 2011.
Dr Quinn (Jane Seymour) in Dr Quinn – Medicine Woman. The show may not be British but the actress who played the lead role certainly was. Stunning, Jane Seymour has been a major part of British culture ever since she married King Henry VIII.
Doctor Who (Tom Baker) in Doctor Who. OK so he is neither a medical doctor nor a human but he is the most iconic doctor to have appeared on British TV. Of all the timelord’s many incarnations, the fellow with the “teeth and curls” is the best remembered if not necessarily the best loved.