Surgical Spirit (TV Series 1989–1995) Poster


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Excellet British Comedy
robert_x_armstrong-115 October 2006
Having watch 95% of British Comedy shows over the years, this has got to be one of my favourites. I can't believe "Simon Rodgers from Birmingham, United Kingdom", thinks it is rubbish, obviously no sense of humour in Birmingham. The casting of Nichola McAuliffe as Sheila Sabatini was brilliant and Duncan Preston as Jonathan Haslam was the perfect balance. I have seen every episode of this wonderful series numerous times. With a bit of luck it will be released on DVD in the not too distant future. Anyone who likes British Comedy should try and catch this show next time it is on. One of the best scripts revolves around an escaped lunatic, who manages to gain access to the theatres. The Inspector in charge (Halliwell) is having an argument with Sheila and says, "I don't think you caught my name, its Halliwell no Plod." Later in the show when the lunatic takes hostages, Sheila says, "Well Inspector Halliwell spelt P-L-O-D......". Other episodes worthy of mention are:- The where Sheila's mother dies The wedding day when everyone in theatre staff think they have won the lottery and Sheila must remind everyone that they decided not to participate in the syndicate of another department. The other department however was not informed of the decision, so they think the theatre staff are still members. In the end they only get about £40 each. Some of the staff were planning on buying islands and retiring etc. all the usual stuff only to find out they could ever buy a flight to anywhere. There are many more brilliant episodes in this wonderful series. Come on ITV release it on DVD asap.
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Witty, acerbic dialogue, enjoyable entertainment
joanh-129 August 2006
I have fond memories of this comedy series, with the ferociously funny one-liners of chief surgeon Sheila Sabatini keeping everyone on their toes. She could make me laugh out loud, which is rare indeed for me when watching so-called comedies (especially US sitcoms). Nichola McAuliffe portrayed wonderfully the acid-tongued Sheila, a woman of intelligence, skill and just the right touch of arrogance. She was part of an ensemble cast who all appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely. The focus was on a few staff of the hospital, the patients being almost an afterthought. Surgical Spirit was cleverly-written & well-acted, a pleasant half hour of light relief. If it's repeated on your local station, give it a go, you might enjoy it.
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Please carry on, Doctors
hgallon28 August 2001
Most hospital dramas are about situations of life and death. "Surgical Spirit" deals with the equally dramatic issues of ruptures and piles.

The heroine, Dr. Sheila Sabatini (Nicola McAuliffe), is a consultant surgeon. In addition to dealing with the everyday crises of the wards, she has also to deal with a slightly wayward son, an Italian husband whom she is divorcing, an anaesthetist boyfriend who is slightly in awe of her and a scatterbrained administrator.

Most of the humour arises from the relations between Sabatini and her fellow-doctors, who are pretentious, idle or callow. Her suitor, Dr. Haslam, earnestly rushes in where angels fear to tread and provides a natural foil to Sabatini's irascibility.

As one might expect from a character in McAuliffe's high-powered role, the dialog is very sharp and naturally delivered. Think of Sir Lancelot Sprat in drag. Awkward, mumbling explanations to her about embarrassing medical conditions are cut short with almost an Australian relish for bluntness.

Very few lines are delivered with obvious intentional humour, a process made easier by most scenes being shot with all the characters wearing surgical masks. Extracting humour from the mundane is a difficult feat, and this series probably succeeded better than most.
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Excellent, Classic British Comedy
Tommi8612 January 2007
I remember watching this when it was first aired back in 1989, and I loved it. It was British comedy at is absolute best.

I forgot about after it finished, and now ITV 3 are running re-runs and its like I am falling in love all over again. And although 15 years or so have gone since it first started the sublime jokes still remain side-splitting and the characters stay identifiable.

The only bad thing I can say about it is the sets, looking at them you can really tell its been 15 years!

Actually I lied I thought of another bad thing, it finished!!!

Overall this show is a show that will remain a T.V Classic Gem for decades to come.

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A true comedy gem.
imdb-1663414 December 2006
Seldom do you see a TV show prepared not to dumb down the comedy, and keep it so very cutting as is found in Surgical Spirit.

I was hooked from the very first episode when the show first aired in 1989 and I find the humour as fresh today as ever.

The characters are rich and the casting places very talented artists in roles where they can make the most of a carefully constructed script, that delivers some of the most memorable lines I've ever heard.

It has the guts to tackle such fundamental questions like the nature of the dying process, with intelligence, sensitivity and great humour, without trivialising or dodging the realities.

Surgical Spirit clearly won't be to everyone's taste, but it has a huge amount to offer anyone who likes their wit sharp, their delivery punchy and their comedy not at all watered down.
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really very funny
selffamily16 January 2016
I remember this series when it first aired on TV, and I'm pretty sure that NZ TV did not buy all of them. Recently I was lucky enough to obtain the complete boxed set of all eight series and I've been laughing out loud ever since.

The characters are well drawn, the dialogue is pithy and well written - no dreadful downton dialogue here - and the stories/episodes are believable and entertaining. There is consistency and humour in each episode, really I can't praise it too highly. The characters are believable and it's a really top class funny comedy series. You can't say that about many. This ten line rule is ridiculous and just opens the site to too much wordy and meaningless babble.
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Keeping the spirits up!
RaspberryLucozade10 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Many years back, I loathed this series. Indeed, the very mention of its title used to cause me to shudder. However, I don't know what made me do it but recently I re-watched it and to my utmost surprise found it was not half as bad as I remembered it to be.

The show's protagonist is surgeon Sheila Sabantini ( portrayed by Nichola McAulfie ), an intimidating woman whose tongue is so sharp one could use it to shave with and whose way with insults would make Anne Robinson blush. Underneath her fiery exterior however does lay a well-meaning and caring woman. Duncan Preston plays Doctor Jonathan Haslam, a fellow surgeon who finds himself somehow attracted to Sabantini. Over the show's run, a relationship eventually blossoms between the pair which then results in the two getting married.

Peter Learmouth wrote the scripts and whilst the show certainly was not hilarious, it at least brought a smile to the face per half hour and compared to his next sitcom - the dire 'Let Them Eat Cake' ( which starred Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French ) - looks like a masterpiece.

Nicola McAulfie as Sheila at first does appear to be brusque and unlikeable but given the chance does start to grow on you after a while. Duncan Preston, who television credits include 'Victoria Wood - As Seen On T.V' and 'Harry Enfield & Chums' in my opinion is the show's main saving grace who as Jonathan was the only one with the guts to bring Sheila back down to earth. Also in the cast were Andrew Groves as Sheila's son Daniel and Marji Campi as theatre administrator Joyce Watson. A then unknown Catherine Tate appeared briefly in one episode.

'Surgical Spirit' was enough of a hit to run on ITV for seven seasons before ending in 1995. It was repeated throughout the '90's on Granada Plus and more recently has been repeated on ITV-3.
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