You can see how 'Doctors' Daughters' came to be made. It was the creation of Richard Gordon, whose book 'Doctor In The House' gave birth to a string of hit movies and a long-running television series. When he approached A.T.V. with the concept, Lord Grade probably could not get out his cheque book fast enough. Gordon did not write the show alone though; he teamed up with Ralph Thomas, director of the 'Doctor' movies.
It was basically a generation gap comedy; set in the cathedral city of Mitrebury, three elderly G.P.'s - Richard Murdoch, Bill Fraser, and Jack Watling - are so overworked they plan on retiring after 35 years. Remembering that two of their fellow medical students - 'Loony' Liston and 'Rubberduck' Drake - have fathered young doctors, they agree to hand over, believing their replacements to be male. But, when they turn up, the aged doctors are aghast to find that they are female - and right little ravers to boot.
'Dr.Lucy Drake' ( Lesley Duff ) and 'Dr.Fay Liston' ( Victoria Burgoyne ) are the female equivalents of 'Dr.Duncan Waring' and 'Dr.Dick Stuart-Clark'. Both dress provocatively, particularly the latter, who only wears a bra for exams and inquests, and are free with their sexual favours. Liston's attitude is: "why get married and keep one man happy, when I can stay single and keep dozens?". The first episode ended with her going topless ( we only saw her from the back ) when her friend tore off her top to make bandages for an injured patient.
Along with Liz Arkdale ( Bridget Armstrong ), gynaecologist and obstetrician ( also the world's worst driver ), they set about modernising the practice, often in the face of strong opposition.
Watching this at the time I was reminded of the early 'Doctor At Large' episodes in which Mike Upton ( Barry Evans ) and Paul Collier ( George Layton ) shared a practice with Dr.Maxwell ( Arthur Lowe ). But those were a thousand times funnier. Richard Gordon never wrote directly for the 'Doctor' series. He wisely left the job to the likes of John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Graeme Garden, and Bill Oddie among others. Likewise Ralph Thomas did not write any of the scripts to the 'Doctor' movies. It showed. Both men were clearly out of their depth here. The 'Doctors' Daughters' scripts were predictable, lacking in wit, and often downright amateurish.
Despite a good cast made up of reliable British character actors as Norman Chappell and Patrick Newell, the show never gelled. Like all A.T.V. sitcoms, it was plagued by obvious ( and irritating ) canned laughter. You would hear some poor woman having hysterics when nothing funny was happening on screen ( which was 100% of the time ).
Victoria Burgoyne, who played 'Fay', was popular tabloid fodder at the time, forever being photographed in revealing clothes and giving interviews in which she bragged that she was going to be a big star. It was not to be.
'Doctors' Daughters' was hopelessly outdated, particularly with regards to its treatment of women. Its main source of humour was the looks of exasperation on the faces of the the fusty G.P.'s as these liberated women ran amok. It was more sexist than all the 'Doctor' episodes combined, and nowhere near as funny.
I.T.V., perhaps thinking it had another ratings winner on its hands, screened it in the old 'Doctor' slot of at 7.15 on Sunday evenings, but the uniformly hostile reviews and indifferent audience response caused it to ( in the London region ) be pulled from prime-time and moved to a graveyard slot, where it was quietly forgotten.
The line quoted above came from the show's theme tune, performed by Burgoyne and Duff. It was the best thing about the show.
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