1 9 7 4 (UK)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Saucy goings-on on the old briny formed the fourth part of the Doctor series when Dick Stuart-Clark (Geoffrey Davies) gets the sack from St Swithin’s Hospital and Duncan Waring (Robin Nedwell) resigns in protest.
The two friends then take jobs as ship’s doctors on the cruise liner MS Begonia.
To their horror, they discover that the vessel is commanded by Captain Norman Loftus (Ernest Clark), twin brother of their old Professor of Surgery at St Swithin’s.
While the hapless pair deal with malingering crewmen who will do anything to get a chit which says they’re unfit for duty, there is also tension due to their ranks at sea: Duncan, as senior surgeon, has more rings on his sleeve than Dick.
The duo is assisted by nurse Joyce Winton (Elizabeth Connell) and hindered by everyone from prim Scottish Purser, Harold Smethwick (John Grieve) to the luckless Entertainments Officer (Bob Todd) – a man perpetually reduced to tears by the failure of his joking efforts to get the passengers lively.
Other regular Doctor characters were not present. Paul Collier had been packed off to practice in Wigan, while Bingham and his twittery wife had vanished to goodness-knows-where to prod, pester and provoke a new pile of patients.
David Jason appeared in one episode as a young stowaway Spaniard called Manuel Sanchez.
The original movie version of Doctor At Sea was made in 1955.
Prior to this, author Richard Gordon had adapted his original story for a BBC radio programme, broadcast on the Home Service in 1953 with David Kossoff, David King-Wood, Norman Shelley and John Laurie in the key roles.
Captain Norman Loftus
Nurse Joyce Wynton
Purser Harold Smethwick
Sir John And Baby Doc / Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seasick / A Healthy Ship Is A Happy Ship / The Senior Officer’s Perks / Go Away, Stowaway / Floating Profits / Goodbye, Mr Ships / The V.I.P / In A Little Spanish Town / Physician Heal Thyself / A Wolf In Ship’s Clothing / Murder! He Said / But It’s So Much Nicer To Come Home