Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) is a newly arrived medical student at the fictional St Swithin’s Hospital in London.
The naive, serious-minded Sparrow falls in with three longer-serving hopefuls – Richard Grimsdyke (Kenneth More), Tony Benskin (Donald Sinden) and rugby fanatic Taffy Evans (Donald Houston) – and is soon immersed in the wooing, imbibing, and fast sports car driving that accompanied 1950s medical training.
There is, however, always the looming and formidable figure of Chief Surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt (James Robertson Justice) to remind them of their real purpose.
Simon’s friends cajole him into a series of disastrous dates, first with a placidly uninterested “Rigor Mortis” (Joan Sims) then with Isobel (Kay Kendall), a woman with very expensive tastes, and finally with Joy (Muriel Pavlow), a nurse at St Swithin’s.
The movie – based on a novel by Richard Gordon – was such a success that it recouped its entire production cost during its initial run at one cinema in London’s West End, became the most popular box office film of 1954 in Great Britain, and spawned six film sequels and a long-running spin-off television series.
Sir Lancelot Spratt
James Robertson Justice
Jean Taylor Smith