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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.
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