Drawing on her love of theatre and art, New Zealand novelist Ngaio Marsh created elegant crime-puzzlers full of quirky characters with hidden agendas, all brought meticulously to life in this BBC series.
Hamish Macbeth is a police constable in the small Scottish town of Lochdubh, who occasionally bends the rules when it suits him or when it can help some of his fellow eccentric townsfolk. ... See full summary »
Four recently paroled female English thieves pull an elaborate stunt to steal a fortune in cash and get a crime boss arrested for it. They plan to escape to Barbados with the loot, but mess... See full summary »
Victor Meldrew is a retiree with an attitude who seems to attract bad luck. If he's not driving his long suffering wife Margaret crazy with his constant moaning, he's fighting with his ... See full summary »
At the end of World War I, the Bannerman family re-opens the Grand Hotel after a lengthy closure and a costly re-furbishing. The hotel has been in the family for a long time and John ... See full summary »
One of the enduring sources from which British television draws its plots is the works of author A.J. Cronin (e.g. "The Citadel"). These all involve questions of medical facts and ethics, but being written and set in the 1930's and 1940's, lack the urgency of a series such as "Casualty" or "E.R".
In the 1960's, there was a whole series, "Dr. Finlay's Casebook", built around one of Cronin's characters (starring Bill Simpson). Bravely, Scottish Television have brought Finlay back to life and rendered him in colour, something of a shock to those of us who remember the original in black-and-white from so many years ago.
The new series resumes in the aftermath of World War II. Dr. Finlay has been serving overseas in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and returns to the small town of Tannochbrae in Scotland expecting to resume life as it was. However, while his crusty colleague Dr. Cameron is unchanged, everything else has been affected by the war. His fiancée has decided not to wait for him, he must deal with new colleagues and even the arrangements of the practice are overturned as the resolutely chaste housekeeper is wooed by the local chemist.
The overall emotion to come from the first few episodes of the series is a sense of let-down, as Finlay finds that after a World War, familiar small tragedies caused by ignorance and poverty still persist. Later, as he and other members of his practice rebuild their lives, a more hopeful note emerges.
David Rintoul probably makes a better Dr. Finlay than Simpson did. (The late) Ian Bannen and Annette Crosbie are a superb double-act as Dr. Cameron and housekeeper Janet Macpherson. Other good performances come from Margo Gunn (Nurse Brenda Maitland), Jessica Turner (Dr. Elizabeth Napier) and Gordon Reid (chemist Angus Livingstone). Some viewers may find the harsh Scottish accents of some of the incidental characters such as Dr. Finlay's patients a little grating, but this adds to the faultless authenticity.
Overall, don't expect fireworks but be prepared to be entertained.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?