Doctor in the House (1969–1970)
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Why Do You Want to Be a Doctor? 

Michael Upton attends an interview at St. Swithin's and much to his surprise gets in. One his first day he meets fellow first year medical student Duncan Waring and Dick Stuart Clark who is... See full summary »



(based on the novels), (creator) | 2 more credits »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Bathurst ...
George Moon ...
George Layton ...
Sidney Vivian ...
College Officer
Ernest Clark ...
Michael Harbour ...
Nervous Boy
Emma Cochrane ...
Miss Fisher
Robin Nedwell ...
Ralph Michael ...
Fraser Kerr ...
The Warden
Geoffrey Davies ...
Michael Burrell ...
Mary Rennie ...


Michael Upton attends an interview at St. Swithin's and much to his surprise gets in. One his first day he meets fellow first year medical student Duncan Waring and Dick Stuart Clark who is taking the first year for the fifth time. After a rambling introduction by the Dean, Upton and Waring are sent to see Stebings by Professor Loftus. He gives them a frozen arm but due to some deliberate misdirection by Paul Collier, they end up upsetting some women patients and then being caught by a policeman outside who fortunately for them faints. The arm is eventually stored for safe keeping by Stuart Clark at the back of the pub. Written by

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Release Date:

12 July 1969 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

"Its not what I expected!"
5 October 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

London Weekend Television was on something of a lucky streak in the late '60's ( thanks to Head Of Comedy Frank Muir ), having launched 'Please Sir!' in 1968 and 'On The Buses' the following year, they then gave us this, loosely based on the book by Richard Gordon ( which had formed the basis for a hit movie starring Dirk Bogarde in 1955 ). Other 'Doctor' movies followed, even after Bogarde's departure, in fact the series was continuing as this went on air. 'Doctor In Trouble', with that old smoothie Leslie Phillips, hit cinemas in 1970. Because the movies were so well known, it was decided to avoid plundering them for jokes ( such as "you, what's the bleeding time?" ), and to change the names of the characters, hence 'Simon Sparrow' became 'Michael Upton', 'Sir Lancelot Spratt' was rechristened 'Professor Loftus', 'Richard Grimsdyke' transmogrified into 'Dick Stuart-Clark' ( named after a real-life Footlights member - and friend of John Cleese and Graham Chapman's - called Chris Stuart-Clark ).

Cleese and Chapman penned the opening episode, but never collaborated on the show again. Chapman teamed up with Barry Cryer, and Cleese left, returning two years later to write some first-class episodes for 'At Large'. This one begins with a nervous-looking Upton arriving at St.Swithins. His father ( Peter Bathurst ), also a surgeon, is keen for his son to continue the family tradition of working in medicine. The interview is a terrifying ordeal; Upton is confronted with The Dean ( Ralph Michael ) and Professor Loftus ( Ernest Clark ) who ask him 'who is Vice President of the United States?'. When Upton mentions his rugby prowess, the Dean is impressed. The hospital had lost the trophy to Highcross the previous season. He qualifies, much to his own surprise. September arrives, and he finds himself in a lecture theatre next to Duncan Waring ( Robin Nedwell ). Late arrivals include 'Paul Collier' ( George Layton ) and Dick Stuart-Clark ( Geoffrey Davies ). The latter in particular is a cool customer, and so he should be - this is his fifth year as a first-year student. The Dean's speech, in which he spells out in detail the hospital's rules, is long and tedious. Upton and Waring are sent to Stebbins ( Michael Burrell ) to procure a frozen arm which they then must take to the dissection room. Collier sends them instead to a maternal clinic...

This opener effectively sets the scene and establishes the characters. The sight of Mike and Duncan wandering about the hospital corridors with a severed limb is unusually ghoulish, possibly Chapman's contribution. The late Barry Evans is perfectly cast as the naive yet charming Upton. He was younger than Bogarde had been when he did the first movie. It was rare to see a sitcom in those days with such a young cast. As George Layton later put it: "We were the 'Friends' of our day!".

Funniest moment - a policeman asks the students what they are carrying. They show him, and he faints!

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