Doctor in Charge: Season 1, Episode 1

The Devil You Know (9 Apr. 1972)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
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When Michael leaves St. Swithins, Professor Loftus decides to replace him with Duncan Waring, who has been working as a doctor in Baltimore. When Duncan arrives at the hospital, Dick, Paul ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Ernest Clark ...
George Layton ...
Robin Nedwell ...
...
Mrs. Waring
Victor Platt ...
P.C. Waring
Sammie Winmill ...
Geoffrey Davies ...
Arthur English ...
Vincent
Harold Goodwin ...
Sidney
Fred McNaughton ...
Dr. McClusky
Diana Quiseekay ...
Sister
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Storyline

When Michael leaves St. Swithins, Professor Loftus decides to replace him with Duncan Waring, who has been working as a doctor in Baltimore. When Duncan arrives at the hospital, Dick, Paul and others all pretend to have forgotten who he is for a joke but Loftus is pleased to see him and interested to know what methods he learned in America. One of these is singing during an operation. Loftus and Duncan disagree over treatment during the op but when Duncan is proved right Loftus joins him in playing a joke on the other doctors. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Comedy

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Release Date:

9 April 1972 (UK)  »

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"Only tell me when I'm wrong!"
10 April 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

The job of junior houseman at St. Swithins is once more up for grabs. Professor Loftus decides to give it to his former student Duncan Waring. The previous incumbent, Mike Upton, joined the Merchant Navy to escape the attentions of Nurse Willett, to whom he drunkenly proposed one night.

Back in Britain following a year-long course in America, Duncan is looking forward to seeing his old friends again. But they have decided to play a cruel trick on him. When he arrives, everyone pretends not to remember him. Even his old girlfriend Sandra Crumpton is in on the joke...

Exhausted by the punishing filming schedule ( 29 episodes in one year ) Barry Evans made his final appearance as 'Dr.Mike Upton' in a short 'Doctor At Large' sketch shown as part of 'Mike & Bernie's All-Star Christmas Comedy Carnival' on 25/12/71. Sadly, it no longer exists.

The series should logically have ended with his departure. With recasting ruled out, the obvious solution was to replace 'Upton' with a new character. Taking note of the fate of 'Please Sir!' the year before ( it sank with all hands on deck following the loss of John Alderton ), the producers decided to bring back 'Duncan Waring' from 'In The House'.

Robin Nedwell was a different kind of actor to Barry Evans. He was more extroverted, wore outrageous bow ties, and was particularly adept at physical comedy. You could not imagine Upton panicking on a railway crossing ( 'Honeymoon Special' ), mountaineering up the side of a building ( the 'Doctor On The Go' episode 'Keep Your Nose Clean!' ), or doing a frog impression to get out of the Royal Navy ( 'Hello Sailor!' ).

According to Roger Wilmut in his book 'From Fringe To Flying Circus', John Cleese found the 'Upton' character difficult to write for. Whenever he wrote funny lines for him, the scripts would be returned with the comment 'Barry wouldn't say lines like that', hence Cleese had to create situations in which other people did or said amusing things, while Upton stood in the middle, smiling amiably. I think this is a bit harsh, but Cleese's view has to be respected.

No disrespect to Evans' memory, but in my view the 'Doctor' series hit its stride with 'In Charge'. The early episodes featured Mollie Sugden as Duncan's overprotective mother and Sammie Winmill as his sexy girlfriend Sandra. These characters would later be phased out.

Written by Graham Chapman and Bernard McKenna, 'The Devil You Know' is hardly a great example of the show, but serves its purpose in bringing Duncan back aboard, and establishing that Upton is no longer around. There is something of a 'Twilight Zone' air, as Duncan is made to feel as though he never ever existed at St.Swithins.

Funniest moment - relieved to find that Loftus remembers him, Duncan greets him like a long-lost brother - much to the stuffy Professor's embarrassment.


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