The everyday lives of working-class inhabitants of Albert Square, a traditional Victorian square of terrace houses surrounding a park in the East End of London's Walford borough. The square includes the Queen Vic pub and a street market.
Pam St. Clement
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First two series were good, the third onwards were a bit limp.
Being a lover of medical dramas, and noticing way back in 1995 that this new
series about a widowed police surgeon (thus removing the cliché of hospitals) was starting, I decided to check it out. I was not disappointed.
Nigel le Vaillant (himself no stranger to medical drama after having been in
Casualty previously as a member of its hospital's staff) played Paul Dangerfield, who sort of has two medical jobs: one in a doctor's surgery and the other as
police surgeon for the local station. He had very little time for much of a social life (much to the distress of those he got romantically involved with, the favourite of mine being Dr Joanna Stevens, played by Amanda Redman in series 2), let
alone time for his son Marty (Sean Maguire, later Tim Vincent) and daughter Al (Lisa Faulkner, later Tamzin Malleson); all three are trying to cope after the sudden death of Paul's wife in a car accident. Until they moved house in Series 3 the piano she used to play remained, as did the painful memories for Paul...
In the first two series I thought there was a fine balance between Paul doing 'doctor' stuff and the case the police were on; in series three onwards this was lost somewhat, with the police investigation almost negating the need for Paul's real job (this may have been due to the changes in writers - they did seem to change a lot at this point); the only decent episode in the third and fourth series that seemed to have anything like the old formula was one where actor William Gaminara played the part of a fake doctor.
At the end of series four we were introduced to Dr Jonathan Paige, played by
Nigel Havers ('Chariots Of Fire'), who had a little more lightheartedness than the serious Paul, and replaced him for series five (the final series) after the
departure of Le Vaillant at the end of series four. Sadly, gone was the surgery and the other doctors etc., instead with Paige working solely as police surgeon. Although it was slightly better in content than the third and fourth series,
somehow it lacked the charm and variety of the first two.
So, to sum it up. Series 1 & 2 are great, but be prepared for disappointment after those two.
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